Home | People |

Marisella Rodriguez


  • PhD Political Science, University of California, Davis
  • (Expected Graduation: June 2018)
  • MA Political Science, University of California, Davis, 2016
  • BA Political Science, California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo, CA), 2012
  • Minor: Women’s/Gender Studies, Sociology


Primary Field: International Relations

Secondary Field: Political Methodology

PhD expected June 2018

Research Focus

Dissertation Title: Women and Wartime Sexual Violence: Discerning Strategic from Indiscriminate Abuses

Dissertation Committee: Jeannette Money (chair), Zeev Maoz, Keith Watenpaugh

My dissertation presents two research questions addressing the variation observed in the type and level of sexual violence during conflict. First, what are the conditions under which sexual violence during conflict is indiscriminate or strategic? Second, what conditions influence the level of wartime sexual violence? I argue that sexual violence during conflict is fundamentally indiscriminate, or non-targeted, given that human rights abuses are inherent to conflict as a result of the opportunistic and chaotic environment. However, I suggest that there are three conditions under which sexual violence is targeted and strategic. I expect armed groups to implement strategic sexual violence when there is ethnic conflict, severe battle losses, and vengeful behavior. Additionally, I argue that international accountability and armed group discipline influence the levels of wartime sexual violence regardless of type. To test these arguments, I use a mixed method research design that includes case study analysis and an ordinal logit mixture model.