An acute problem regarding sexual violence in war is that far too few perpetrators are stopped. While both the rhetoric of protection and policy measures are important, they may have overshadowed the role of the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence and the need to focus on preventive measures. It is therefore time to shift the political discussion from the responsibility to protect to the responsibility to prevent sexual violence from occurring. This can be achieved through three decisive approaches at different levels:
- by increasing focused research on individual perpetrators and their backgrounds (individual focus);
- by holding military leaders responsible for crimes of sexual violence committed by soldiers under their command and ensuring that all soldiers, as well as aiders and abettors, understand that acts of sexual violence in war are criminal acts and not an integral part of a military culture (group focus); and
- by fostering military cultures in which perpetrators of sexual violence are exposed and condemned (cultural focus).