The United Nations (UN) report found a surprisingly high rate of forced sex by men in parts of Asia.
The research team, which was made up of multiple UN agencies, asked over 10,000 men in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka questions about their sexual lives. They never asked the men specifically if they had “raped” anyone, but instead queried them about issues such as: “Have you ever forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,” or if they had ever forced a partner to have sex if they didn’t want to.
In most countries about a quarter of men had committed rape, and in Papua New Guinea, a little over 60% of the men interviewed had raped someone. Even more chilling was the finding that 58% of the men who admitted to rape had committed their first rape as teens, and almost half had raped more than one woman.
To understand the reasons behind these rapes, the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Lancet, asked the men about their motives. Seventy three percent of the participants who had committed rape said they did it for sexual entitlement, 59% did it for entertainment, and 38% raped a woman in order to punish her. Men who had been raped or experienced sexual abuse as kids were more likely to commit the crime, compared to men who had not experienced sexual violence in the past. Men who had a history of violence against their partner, ever paid for sex or had many sexual partners were also more likely to admit to rape.
Although their findings do not represent the entire Asia and Pacific region, the authors believe their sampling is a good demographic match. By studying the prevalence of rape and its risk factors, public health officials hope that countries can develop effective interventions that address the problems in effective ways that are relevant to each country.