A new study on violence against women in Southeast Asian countries, by UN Joint Programme Partners for Prevention, is making headlines around the world.
Although the study also has interesting findings on non-sexual, physical violence against women, the findings that seem to have shocked most people were the high numbers of men admitting to rape.
Just under a quarter of men interviewed in the study countries (Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka) admitted to raping a woman or girl. It’s important to note the percentage varied widely between countries, from a low but still troubling 11% in Bangladesh to over 60% in Papua New Guinea. More than half the men said they committed their first assault between the ages of 15 and 19 and nearly half had raped repeatedly.
It’s safe to assume one of the reasons men were so open to admitting assault was that the questions never used the word “rape”. Instead, researchers asked if men had ever: “forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,” or “had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it.”
About 10 per cent said they have had “non-consensual sex” with a woman who was not their partner, but another 14 per cent admitted it when partners were included in the question.
Less than one quarter served jail time.
So here’s how not to respond to this, white Westerners (with examples from news site comments):
- ” the study was only done in some of the most backward places on Earth. So it says absolutely nothing about the male of the species.”
- “and yet we keep letting them come to America on H1B work visas, where the later prey on children.”
- ”Typical Asians, bout time the media reports on these deviants.”
- ” Dont compare the West to Asia. Ever wondered why all the Asians (Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Pakkis, Koreans etc) are trying to immigrate desperately to the West & not vice-versa ?”
First of all, you can’t make those kind of blanket statements about the region from this (and not just because it’s super racist). The study doesn’t cover all of Southeast Asia, stats varied between countries, and only in Cambodia does the report claim there was balanced geographic representation in the sample.
Second, though there are different issues between and within various countries, there are some common themes that we see happening here. And that means we can’t get on our high, white horse. Read more