Skip to main content

U.N. study in Asia delves into why men rape

By Madison Park, CNN
September 11, 2013 -- Updated 0228 GMT (1028 HKT)
Protesters hold signs in outrage over the gang-rape and death of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012.
Protesters hold signs in outrage over the gang-rape and death of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A survey of men looks at rape in six Asia-Pacific countries
  • 24% committed rape on partners or non-partners, study finds
  • Most men who raped cited sexual entitlement as a reason
  • Most committed their first rape while a teenager

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Why do rape perpetrators commit such acts?

In the first of its kind, a multi-country survey looked at how widespread rape and sexual violence is in six Asia-Pacific countries. And it also asked why.

A quarter of the men interviewed, said they had raped a woman or girl.

The report published in the medical journal The Lancet also brought insight into the socio-economic circumstances of the men who rape.

The study by the Partners for Prevention, comprised of several U.N. agencies, asked 10,178 men about their lives. They gathered information from the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.

How widespread is rape?

The questionnaire did not contain the word "rape," because of the researcher's belief that most men do not think they have raped when they force women to have sex.

Instead, participants were asked questions like whether they ever "forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex," if they ever "had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it" or forced a partner, when she did not want to.

Here is the percentage of respondents who said they had raped a partner or non-partner.

CNN

In most countries, between one in five reported perpetrating a rape, although Papua New Guinea leads this proportion with more than half.

Rape of women in marriage was much more prevalent than non-partner rape, the survey found.

When does it start?

Early. More than half of respondents who raped a non-partner first did so as a teenager, with most of their first crimes occurring between the age of 15 and 19.

The study's authors say this "reinforces the need for early rape prevention if one is to intervene before the first rape is committed."

What's the likelihood of repeat offenses?

High. Nearly half of the respondents who said they had committed rape, perpetrated the crime on different women.

They were asked how many different women they had raped:

  • 55.4% said they have raped 1 woman
  • 28.3% said they have raped 2-3 women
  • 12% said they have raped 4-10 women
  • 4.2% said they have raped 10 or more women

Are women always the victim of sexual violence?

No.

  • 6.2% of respondents say they have raped a man and a woman as a single perpetrator
  • 30.2% of respondents say they have raped a man and a woman among multiple perpetrators (with others/in a group setting)

Why did they commit rape?

Sexual entitlement means a man feels he has a right to have sex, despite what the woman wants. Some respondents expressed they were bored, so rape was a pursuit of entertainment. Punishment was also cited as a reason, saying that some wanted to punish a female or was angry with the person.

Are there consequences for the rape?

Prison sentences were rare, with less than a quarter of the perpetrators receiving jail time. The study found:

  • 55.2% said they felt guilt
  • 35.7% said they were punished by friends or family
  • 32.5% said they were arrested
  • 22.9% said they were sent to prison

What's the background of a repeat rape offender?

Men with a history of victimization, such as experiencing childhood physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect in childhood, were more likely to commit sexual violence than those without such a past, according to the study.

It also found that men who were poor or had no high school education were more likely to have raped in a group setting.

  • 50% of multiple perpetrators had no high school education
  • 74.8% of multiple perpetrators had ever married or co-habitated
  • 60.5% of multiple perpetrators experienced childhood physical abuse
  • 43.1% of multiple perpetrators rarely or never had their father at home

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Violence against women in India
She was attacked at a rural police station, and her landmark case awakened India decades ago.
January 28, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
An Indian army corporal suspected of sexually assaulting a 14-month-old girl has been taken into custody.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Giving voice to the victims of violence has power. When a discussion builds around it, those voices gain strength.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 0222 GMT (1022 HKT)
The colorful, busy streets of New Delhi are a mixture of old and new. Some people have modern attitudes, while others remain rooted in ancient values.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
When CNN's Sumnima Udas tells people outside India that she lives in New Delhi, she is almost always asked: "Do you feel safe there?" or worse, "what's with the rape culture in India?"
September 14, 2013 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
An Indian court sentenced four men to death for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, an attack that appalled the South Asian nation.
September 11, 2013 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
The New Delhi rape case left the whole world wondering why India is treating its women so badly.
September 10, 2013 -- Updated 1010 GMT (1810 HKT)
An Indian court finds four men guilty of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 0828 GMT (1628 HKT)
I wasn't raped, but my attackers sexually assaulted and then tried to kill me.
August 14, 2013 -- Updated 1121 GMT (1921 HKT)
They're called the Red Brigade, a group of teenagers who are facing sex pests head on, vigilante-style.
August 23, 2013 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
A U.S. student's experience of sexual harassment in India triggers more anguish and sympathy from women in India.
August 23, 2013 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
American student Michaela Cross says during a three-month trip to India she experienced relentless sexual harassment, groping and worse.
August 15, 2013 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Months after the brutal rape of an Indian woman on a bus, have measures to address violence against women worked?
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
New Delhi is known as the crime capital of India. CNN's Sumnima Udas talks to women there about what daily life is like.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
There's one clear observation from the outcry to India's rape crisis: some of the voices belong to India's men.
January 16, 2013 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
'Top Chef' Host Padma Lakshmi weighs in on the New Delhi gang rape case and shares her experience living in India.
January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1841 GMT (0241 HKT)
The director of Amnesty International, India, says that execution "would just perpetuate the cycle of violence."
January 16, 2013 -- Updated 2355 GMT (0755 HKT)
The Delhi police bore the brunt of criticism for a December gang rape, but now they say they're changing their ways.
January 4, 2013 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
The fatal gang rape of a young woman sparked weeks of angry protests and heated debates about sexual violence in Indian society.
January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
The New Delhi woman who was gang-raped died with her honor intact; her rapists will live in ignominy, actress Leeza Mangaldas writes.
ADVERTISEMENT