Skip to main content

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

By Madison Park, CNN
updated 10:28 PM EDT, Tue September 10, 2013
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.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Tue January 28, 2014
An Indian army corporal suspected of sexually assaulting a 14-month-old girl has been taken into custody.
updated 8:14 AM EST, Sun November 17, 2013
Giving voice to the victims of violence has power. When a discussion builds around it, those voices gain strength.
updated 9:22 PM EST, Sun December 15, 2013
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.
updated 9:23 PM EST, Sun December 15, 2013
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?"
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Sat September 14, 2013
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.
updated 9:23 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
The New Delhi rape case left the whole world wondering why India is treating its women so badly.
updated 6:10 AM EDT, Tue September 10, 2013
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.
updated 4:28 AM EDT, Wed August 28, 2013
I wasn't raped, but my attackers sexually assaulted and then tried to kill me.
updated 7:21 AM EDT, Wed August 14, 2013
They're called the Red Brigade, a group of teenagers who are facing sex pests head on, vigilante-style.
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Fri August 23, 2013
A U.S. student's experience of sexual harassment in India triggers more anguish and sympathy from women in India.
updated 2:11 PM EDT, Fri August 23, 2013
American student Michaela Cross says during a three-month trip to India she experienced relentless sexual harassment, groping and worse.
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
Months after the brutal rape of an Indian woman on a bus, have measures to address violence against women worked?
updated 4:47 PM EST, Thu March 7, 2013
New Delhi is known as the crime capital of India. CNN's Sumnima Udas talks to women there about what daily life is like.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
There's one clear observation from the outcry to India's rape crisis: some of the voices belong to India's men.
updated 2:06 PM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
'Top Chef' Host Padma Lakshmi weighs in on the New Delhi gang rape case and shares her experience living in India.
updated 1:41 PM EST, Thu January 3, 2013
The director of Amnesty International, India, says that execution "would just perpetuate the cycle of violence."
updated 6:55 PM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
The Delhi police bore the brunt of criticism for a December gang rape, but now they say they're changing their ways.
updated 11:34 AM EST, Fri January 4, 2013
The fatal gang rape of a young woman sparked weeks of angry protests and heated debates about sexual violence in Indian society.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Thu January 3, 2013
The New Delhi woman who was gang-raped died with her honor intact; her rapists will live in ignominy, actress Leeza Mangaldas writes.
ADVERTISEMENT