Rape Pandemic: Assaults in Asia, Pacific Close to Rate in Indian Country
The United Nations conducted a study on men and violence in Asia and the Pacific, surveying more than 10,000 men at nine sites in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.
About 23 percent of men at the survey site in China said they had committed at least one rape. At the Papua New Guinea site, 61 percent of men admitted to rape.
National crime statistics already indicate that 1 in 3 American Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes, and new clarification of the definition of rape by the Obama administration—to include women, men, and children—reveal the incidence of rape in Native communities may be much higher.
Rachel Jewkes, the lead technical adviser for the UN study, explained to National Geographic the probable reasons for the high occurrence of rape in Asia and the Pacific. The areas where the study was conducted mirror some of the conditions in Indian country affected by rape, namely persistent poverty and high alcohol and drug use.
Speaking in regards to Asia and the Pacific, Jewkes said, "Sexual entitlement is the most common motivation across all of these countries. I think that very, very strongly points to the root of rape in gender relations, and the fact that rape is really legitimized in so many of these countries."
Jewkes elaborated on sexual entitlement:
"Sexual entitlement means feeling that you ought to be able to have sex with a woman—essentially, if you want it, you can have it. The flip side of that is [the idea] that it's a woman's responsibility to make sure that she doesn't have sex when she doesn't want it. If a woman is raped, she would be blamed for putting herself at risk for being raped."
Jewkes attributes the high incidence of rape in Papua New Guinea to an "extremely patriarchal" culture and one that "is extremely accepting of the use of violence in a whole range of different circumstances. It's not just gender-based violence, but also very severe and frequent use of violence in childrearing, and a lot of fighting in the community between men."
Jewkes ultimately determined that rape is comparatively less common in more peaceable countries.
"The two countries that really spring to mind are Bangladesh and most of Indonesia. Alcohol use is much lower in Bangladesh and in Indonesia, too. They are both Muslim countries, they both have relatively strict social mores around sex, and one way or another child abuse is less common in those countries. Child abuse really is strongly associated with rape and violence later on."