Kerrie Thornhill: Ritual Child-Rape in Post-Conflict Liberia

How does post-war development impact rape practices? In her article “Power, predation, and postwar state formation: the public discourse of ritual child rape in Liberia,” published on 21 April 2017 by Third World Thematics, 2012 Foundation scholar Kerrie Thornhill noted that the dominant public discourse linked child rape to witchcraft and that, against the backdrop of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s gender-sensitive post-war administration, this led to a contestation of the legitimacy of power in general and of government in particular. Thornhill further highlighted that understanding the public discourse and power dynamics behind rape can lead to better research – and ultimately better policy – on sexual violence in conflict-affected countries. It bears noting that hers was the first-ever peer-reviewed article published on this topic – good work, Kerrie!


Kerrie Thornhill is a 2012 Foundation scholar and an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Read her article here (full access restricted).

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Kerrie Thornhill

  • Scholar 2012
  • Alumni
She is examining perceptions of gender violence in postwar Liberia, in institutional as well as informal advocacy work.