One in four men in Asia-Pacific admit to rape: Study

Updated: 2013-09-13 11:44

By China Daily (China Daily)

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About one in four men in six Asia-Pacific countries say they have raped a woman at least once in their life, with more than half of respondents claiming they raped for the first time while in their teens, according to a United Nations-led study of rape and sexual violence.

The study was based on a survey of more than 10,000 men in six Asian countries - Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea - and the authors said it was uncertain what rates were like elsewhere in the region and beyond. The lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Indonesia and the highest were in Papa New Guinea.

Several United Nations agencies paid for the research, along with Australia, Britain, Norway and Sweden, and it was published online Tuesday in the journal, Lancet Global Health.

All interviews were done in local languages. In China, the survey was self-administered to ensure privacy and because of particular political sensitivities.

The word "rape" was not used in the question posed to the respondents, but the men were asked if they had ever forced a woman to have sex when she wasn't willing or if they had ever forced sex on someone who was too drunk or drugged to consent.

About one in 10 of the respondents admitted raping a woman who was not their partner, according to the report. When researchers included wives and girlfriends, the figures for rape were mostly between 30 percent to 57 percent.

"It's clear violence against women is far more widespread in the general population than we thought," said Rachel Jewkes of South Africa's Medical Research Council, one of the authors of the published article

Among those men who admitted forcing a woman to have sex, more than 70 percent said it was because of "sexual entitlement". Nearly 60 percent said they were bored or wanted to have fun, while about 40 percent said it was because they were angry or wanted to punish the woman. Only about half of the men said they felt guilty and 23 percent had been imprisoned for a rape.

"The problem is shocking but anyplace we have looked, we see partner violence, victimization and sexual violence," said Michele Decker, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who co-wrote an accompanying commentary to the Lancet article. "Rape doesn't just involve someone with a gun to a woman's head," she said. "People tend to think of rape as something someone else would do."

(China Daily USA 09/13/2013 page10)