Rape Culture in Asia


A new study published in Lancet that tried to accurately gauge the prevalence of rape in many Asian cultures found some staggering and appalling results. The study, funded by several United Nations agencies, interviewed more than 10,000 men and asked them if they had ever forced a partner or non-partner to have sex. The percentages are depressing.

Almost half of those interviewed in a UN survey of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner…

Men were interviewed from rural and urban areas in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. The proportion of men who reported having perpetrated physical and/or sexual violence against a partner in their lifetime varied from 26 percent in rural Indonesia to 80 percent in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea — although in most places the figure was between 30 and 57 percent.

The study also found that men started to perpetrate violence at much younger ages than previously thought. Half of those who admitted to rape reported their first time was when they were teenagers. 23 percent of men who raped in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and 16 percent in Cambodia were 14 years old or younger when they first committed rape. The vast majority of those men who admitted to rape (between 72 and 97 percent of men depending on the location) didn’t experience any legal consequences. In fact, many men felt that they had the right to have sex with women regardless of consent — more than 80 percent of men who admitted to rape in rural Bangladesh and China felt this way. Perhaps most startlingly, four percent of respondents said they had perpetrated gang rape against a woman or girl (although this varied between just one percent to 14 percent depending on the location).

Many of these same places have a huge problem with sex trafficking as well, especially Cambodia. Desperately poor families far too often send a daughter off to “work in a hotel” in a large city, where they are forced into prostitution. There are many non-profit NGOs working to address that problem, but so far with limited effectiveness. This is why programs that empower and educate women and give them the opportunity to support themselves and, just as importantly, control their own reproduction are so crucial in so many places around the world.

Comments

  1. leni says

    Clearly those “self reporting men” were filing false reports against themselves.

    Or maybe they were feminists pretending to be men when they filled out the questionnaires. Whatever the gyno-cabal did, the explanation can absolutely not be rape culture. Because it doesn’t exist.

    It could have been aliens. They could be trolling us. Perhaps they were paid for their time in booze and were all drunk and really regretted their actions the next day. There are a lot of explanations you failed to take into account here, Ed.

  2. maudell says

    @leni

    I had an argument on Youtube about this (I know, but still, it was a progressive channel). Most of the comments were claiming that no matter how much evidence, these numbers were impossible. It was all about evil women trying to steal men’s power. Oh, and so much statistical fail: apparently a sample size of 10,000 is too small to make any statistical inference. And the study must be wrong because the researchers are hiding their methodology (which took me 1 minute to find on Google… but work is hard when you’re an activist proving that rape does not exist).

    The Venn diagram of people who believe that women operate on feelings and men on logic, and of people who don’t believe in studies because it makes them feel bad is awfully close to a single circle.

  3. leni says

    I would ask for a link maudell, but I don’t have the stomach. It’s funnier when I make that shit up in my head :/

    When I see it for real I just want to shank people and my therapist tells me this isn’t good.

  4. Morgan says

    More or Less (a BBC stats program) covered this and pointed out some issues with the study – it covered only certain countries and didn’t use representative samples within those countries, and the two areas with the worst results were recent sites of conflict. The numbers are still bad, but it’s being reported in some forums as “25% of Asian men are rapists!”, which it doesn’t and cannot say.

    On the other hand, I was heartened to hear the person they spoke to about the validity of the statistic on rape within relationships firmly respond that, yes, if you have sex with someone when you know they don’t want to, because you think they have an obligation to, then yes, that is rape, and would be treated as such in the UK (…ideally, at least).

  5. jba55 says

    And now I’m one step closer to moving to the mountains to get away from people. Seriously, wtf is wrong with humanity? I can’t even decide if that’s a rhetorical question. What makes me even more upset is the numbers are undoubtedly higher since I would bet money that some people who said they hadn’t used force had and either were a) rightfully ashamed and wouldn’t admit it or b) didn’t think they had for one reason or another.

  6. says

    1: leni I think you are missing the narrative. Most of the people making these arguments have no problem believing that brown men are rapists and have been saying the same for years themselves.

  7. gerryl says

    When I lived in Japan in the 1980s, the attitude about rape was pretty troubling, if the tv shows I saw were anything to go by. I used to call the Saturday night feature the ‘rape of the week’ movie. I recall one plot: A woman is raped by a neighbor, so to get back at the rapist she manipulates her husband into raping the rapist’s wife. There. That’ll show him.

  8. laurentweppe says

    Half of those who admitted to rape reported their first time was when they were teenagers

    Who’s surprised? Bullies start early

    ***

    When I lived in Japan in the 1980s, the attitude about rape was pretty troubling

    The previous mayor of Tokyo used to be Mishima’s fucktoy and used to write rape porn that passes as highbrow literature in certain cirlces. The Tales of Genji is all about a serial molester… Of course, scratch the surface and our western industrialized nations can hardly claim to have any sort of moral high ground..

  9. left0ver1under says

    maudell (#2) –

    Oh, and so much statistical fail: apparently a sample size of 10,000 is too small to make any statistical inference.

    So sayeth those who never took a first year statistics course in college. More likely, they never went to college at all, except to mop floors and fantasize about being Will Hunting.

  10. abb3w says

    @9, laurentweppe

    Of course, scratch the surface and our western industrialized nations can hardly claim to have any sort of moral high ground.

    I disagree. High ground doesn’t preclude that you can’t be in a deep valley, with everyone else sitting at the bottom of a hole at the base of the valley floor.

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