This week we are talking and reading about women caught in conflict and refugee situations. In a phrase, we are talking about the intensification of violence. Conflict disrupts societies and individual families; violence against women proliferates in such circumstances. When I first began to put together my course at Stanford, I had not included a focus on women in conflict and refugee circumstances. You will recall that in constructing this course I referred back to the letters and proposals that women were writing to the Global Fund for Women. In the 1990s the Global Fund for Women was receiving more and more requests and information from women's groups centrally and urgently concerned with women who were being violated in the context of civil wars—in Kosovo and more recently in the Congo and in Syria, for example. The communications from women's groups are the reason that I include this topic in this course. War affects women intensely and disastrously. In addition to the complications of caring for a family during wartime, women may face displacement from home, separation from loved ones, and extreme abuse, including rape, torture, and death. The gender bias that fuels violence against women during peacetime boils over and intensifies in conflict situations as military officials ignore or sanction gross violations of human rights. Though war is perceived as a male activity—and indeed those involved in militaristic actions are overwhelmingly men—it is largely civilian women and children who bear the costs in the many civil wars of our time. The majority of the conflicts occurring now around the world are civil wars fought within the borders of countries, often among and supported by multiple actors and fueled by religious, ethnic and tribal, economic, and political differences. These conflicts precipitate humanitarian crises, like those in regions around Afghanistan, Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Syria, where thousands of people have been displaced, affecting the social and economic situations of neighboring countries as well. Since 1991, such conflicts have become more numerous and more deadly, and the nature of warfare has changed. Nowadays war often involves the deliberate targeting of civilians, noncombatants, and their livelihoods. The "goal of modern civil wars usually is not so much to eliminate the opponents as to destroy their culture and the very fabric of society," according to a 2002 Save the Children report called The State of the World's Mothers. As a result, said a United Nations Military Adviser in 2008, "It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conflict." The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has noted that the deliberate targeting of civilians, as well as the "collateral damage" caused by modern weapons of destruction, means that civilians are now dying at higher rates than in any other period in the last hundred years. In recent years, there have been conflicts occurring in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Liberia, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda. The list of recent post-conflict countries is also extensive, including: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, East Timor, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Western Sahara. Only recently has it been publicly recognized that war and conflict affect women differently. The first UN Security Council resolution ever to specifically recognize the issue (Resolution 1325) was adopted in October 2000. It advocated increased participation by women in peace-keeping activities and recognized the special vulnerability of women in times of conflict. Two years later, Secretary General Annan issued a report to the Security Council in which he acknowledged that "Women and children are disproportionately targeted in contemporary armed conflict and constitute the majority of all victims," and that "During conflict, women and girls are vulnerable to all forms of violence, in particular sexual violence and exploitation, including torture, rape, mass rape, forced pregnancy, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, and trafficking. They face numerous health threats grounded in biological differences, and the high rate of infection and death increases women's workload in maintaining their households and community and providing care to orphaned children." Please read Chapter 7 of my book, which gives an account of the various stages that women go through in dealing with situations of war and refugee status. As with every chapter in my book, there are descriptions at the end of the chapter of some of the many women's groups that are addressing issues of women in conflict and refugee situations.