One in four men admit to rape in parts of Asia: UN survey

Cross-posted from UN Women

An unprecedented UN study of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific, released today, found that, on average, half of those interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, ranging from 26 per cent to 80 per cent across nine sites studied in six countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea). Nearly a quarter of the men interviewed reported raping a woman or girl.

The study, entitled Why Do Some Men Use Violence against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific was conducted by Partners for Prevention, a regional joint programme of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Asia and the Pacific. It asked men about their use and experiences of violence, gendered attitudes and practices, childhood, sexuality, family life and health.

From left: Roberta Clarke, Regional Director of UN Women Asia-Pacific; James Lang, Programme Coordinator of Partners for Prevention; Rachel Jewkes, Lead Technical Advisor on the paper; Dr. Emma Fulu, Research Specialist, Partners for Prevention at the launch of the report “Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How We can Prevent it” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, 10 September 2013.

From left: Roberta Clarke, Regional Director of UN Women Asia-Pacific; James Lang, Programme Coordinator of Partners for Prevention; Rachel Jewkes, Lead Technical Advisor on the paper; Dr. Emma Fulu, P4P Research Specialist, at the launch of the report in Thailand. Photo: UN Women/Montira Narkvichien

“This study reaffirms that violence against women is preventable, not inevitable,” says James Lang, Programme Coordinator, Partners for Prevention. “Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men’s use of violence found across the study sites and it is achievable because the majority of the factors associated with men’s use of violence can be changed.”

Regarding rape, the study’s key findings were:

  • Men begin perpetrating violence at much younger ages than previously thought. Half of those who admitted to rape reported their first time was as a teenager; 23 per cent of those who raped in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and 16 per cent in Cambodia were 14 years or younger when they first committed this crime.
  • Of those men who had admitted to rape, the vast majority (72-97 per cent in most places) did not face any legal consequences, confirming that impunity persists in the region.
  • The most common motivation that men cited for rape was related to sexual entitlement a belief that men have a right to have sex with women regardless of consent. Over 80 per cent of men who admitted to rape in rural Bangladesh and China gave this response.
  • On average, 4 per cent of respondents said they had perpetrated gang rape against a woman or girl, ranging from 1 to 14 per cent across the various sites. This is the first time data from such a large sample of men has been gathered on gang rape.

The study’s findings reaffirm that violence against women is an expression of women’s subordination and inequality in the private and public spheres. The findings show how men’s use of violence against women is associated with men’s personal histories and practices, within a broader context of structural inequalities.

To read more, click here for the full press release.

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