Report – By Pacific Media Watch
A new United Nations study of 10,000 men in the Asia-Pacific region has found that nearly half of those men interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, ranging from 26 percent to 80 percent across the sites studied.
In Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, the report found that more than 6 out of 10 men have raped a woman. Just over 4 out of 10 said they had raped a non-partner.
Bougainville thus had the highest rate of rape in the multi-country study, which included interviews from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.
Half of the 530 interviewees in Bougainville said they raped women because they were angry and/or wanted to punish them.
Almost two-thirds said they did it because of boredom/fun, whereas 71 percent said rape was a sexual entitlement.
Bougainville reported a higher rate of men, saying they had been emotionally abused before the age of 18 with 86 percent.
Two-thirds said they had been physically abused, and 56 percent said they had witnessed their mothers being abused. All of which were higher than other interview sites in the study.
The study, entitled Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific was conducted by Partners for Prevention, a regional joint programme of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in the Asia-Pacific region.
It asked men about their use and experiences of violence, gendered attitudes and practices, childhood, sexuality, family life and health.
“This study reaffirms that violence against women is preventable, not inevitable,” said James Lang, programme coordinator at Partners for Prevention.
“Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men’s use of violence found across the study sites and it is achievable because the majority of the factors associated with men’s use of violence can be changed.”
The report found that men begin perpetrating 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, Papua New Guinea, and 16 percent in Cambodia were 14 years or younger when they first committed this crime.
Of those men who had admitted to rape, the vast majority (72-97 percent in most sites) did not experience any legal consequences, confirming that impunity remained a serious issue in the region.
Across all sites, the most common motivation that men cited for rape was related to sexual entitlement – a belief that men have a right to sex with women regardless of consent.
Overall, 4 percent of respondents said they had perpetrated gang rape against a woman or girl, ranging from 1 to 14 percent across the various sites.
The study’s findings reaffirmed that violence against women was an expression of women’s subordination and inequality in the private and public spheres.
The findings show how men’s use of violence against women is associated with men’s personal histories and practices, within a broader context of structural inequalities.
For example, men who reported having perpetrated violence against a female partner were significantly more likely to have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse as a child, or witnessed the abuse of their mother.
These men were at least twice as likely to use violence against a female partner.
West Papuan findings
The study also included 428 West Papuan interviewees. The findings in West Papua were not as serious as in Bougainville, but the numbers were still high with 43 percent saying they raped for fun/boredom and one out of four saying it was in anger and/or to punish.
Three out of four West Papuans said raping was a sexual entitlement, a slightly higher number than in Bougainville.
The report suggested six measures to prevent violence from happening:
1. Make violence against women unacceptable, for example through community mobilisation programmes and engagement with people who influence culture;
2. Promote non-violent and caring ways to be a man, for example through sustained school-based or sports-based education programmes;
3. Address child abuse and promote healthy families, for example through parenting programmes, comprehensive child protection systems and policies to end corporal punishment;
4. Work with young people, with a particular focus on boys and adolescents, to understand consent, and healthy sexuality, and to foster respectful relationships;
5. End impunity for men who use violence against women, particularly marital rape, through criminalisation of all forms of violence against women, and promote legal sector reform to ensure effective access to justice.
6. Ensure the full empowerment of women and girls and eliminate gender discrimination.
Source: Pacific Media Watch 8409