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Opinion Pieces Address U.N.-Supported Survey On Rape, Violence Against Women

The Lancet Global Health on September 10 published a U.N.-backed report examining rape and sexual violence against women in six Asia-Pacific countries. The report showed that of 10,000 men surveyed in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka, nearly one-quarter admit to committing rape, often against their own partners. The following opinion pieces address the report and its implications.

  • Nur Hasyim, The Independent: “The study reveals two important findings. First, it demonstrates how widespread violence against women is,” Hasyim, founder and national coordinator of Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru (New Men Alliance) in Indonesia, a pro-feminist men’s movement, writes. “Second, it gives us insight into why this is the case,” he states, saying the report showed “sexual entitlement” to be a major driver. “The seeds for change have been planted, both at a policy and grassroots level,” Hasyim writes, noting workshops he runs in Indonesia for men who have perpetrated violence. “Once men understand the true consequences of their attitudes and behavior, they feel stronger, more respected, when they exercise the right not to use violence, not to strive to be dominant over women,” he writes, adding, “We have a long way to go, but we are on the right path” (9/13).
  • Jessica Mack, The Guardian: “The study is loaded with critical findings that, after first depressing you, have the potential to revolutionize the way we design gender-based violence policies and programs and even how [we] talk about these in society,” Mack, a freelance writer and gender consultant, writes. She summarizes many of the survey’s findings, writing, “Gender-based violence is resident in all corners of society, with causes and consequences more numerous and complex than any other issue being tackled. The solution is not just stricter rape laws, or more conversations with our sons, or more safe houses. It is all of these things and more, all at the same time and for a very long time.” She concludes, “We need more data, more eerie delving into the minds and realities of perpetrators — not to give them platforms or excuses, but to face this head on. That is when the change comes” (9/13).