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U.N.-Backed Report Examines Rape, Sexual Violence Against Women In 6 Asia-Pacific Countries

“Nearly a quarter of men surveyed in six Asia-Pacific countries admit to committing rape, often against their own partners, according to a U.N. report published Tuesday that exposes widespread violence against women,” Agence France-Presse reports (9/10). “The findings, published in The Lancet [Global Health] …, are part of the first-ever survey on rape and sexual violence to be conducted across several countries,” TIME writes, adding, “Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 men from Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka” (Brown, 9/10). “Rape was particularly common within relationships. However, one in 10 men admitted raping a woman who was not their partner,” BBC News notes (Mazumdar, 9/9). “Nearly 75 percent of those who had committed rape said they did so because they felt sexually entitled; more than half said they did it for entertainment,” according to The Guardian (Hodal, 9/9). “The word ‘rape’ was not used in the questions, 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,” the Associated Press writes, noting, “The lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Indonesia and the highest were in Papua New Guinea.”

“International researchers said their startling findings should change perceptions about how common violence against women is and prompt major campaigns to prevent it,” the AP reports. “Still, the results were based on a survey of only six Asian countries and the authors said it was uncertain what rates were like elsewhere in the region and beyond,” the news agency writes, adding, “They said engrained sexist attitudes contributed, but that other factors like poverty or being emotionally and physically abused as children were major risk factors for men’s violent behavior” (Cheng, 9/10). “The huge variation of prevalence of rape and violence across countries shows that rape and violence is not inevitable. … While violence exists in every country, the fact that there is such variation highlights that it isn’t inevitable and that there are things we can do to prevent it,” Emma Fulu of Partners for Prevention, the joint-U.N. program that coordinated the study, said, according to The Guardian (9/9).