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How Does a Country Develop a 60 Percent Rape Rate?

World  (tags: Papua New Guinea, rape, men, women, human rights, violence, society, news, crime, asia )

- 1683 days ago -
The shocking findings of a study on sexual assault in Asia, published Tuesday in the Lancet Global Health journal, have been generating a lot of buzz, particularly the figures on Papua New Guinea, where 59 percent -- yes, more than a majority -- of men...

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Past Member (0)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 1:22 pm
Thats terrible

Carrie B (306)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 1:29 pm
This is the same country that incarcerates LGBT refugees.

Kit B (276)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 4:38 pm

I could not read the article posted but found this from Bloomberg, these figures are really just horrible, and makes the mind boggle at the cultural norm that allows or encourages this thinking.

Researchers interview more than 10,000 men at nine sites in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka in the first multi-country survey on the prevalence of rape, said Rachel Jewkes of South Africa’s Medical Research Council, one of the authors of the article published today in The Lancet Global Health journal.

One in 10 men said they had raped a woman who wasn’t their partner, the researchers found. When partners were included, the figure rose to 24 percent. Just under half of the perpetrators said they had raped more than one woman. The rates of violation differed between the sites: 11 percent of men questioned in Bangladesh said they had committed rape, compared to 60 percent in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

“We really need to understand more,” Jewkes said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Bangladesh is not a particularly violent country, but the prevalence of non-partner rape is far higher than one would presume.”

The findings should encourage steps to prevent rape, such as supporting better parenting and promoting a more gender-equitable view of masculinity, the authors wrote. The gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi last year shocked India and drew attention to the scale of sexual violence against women. Four men accused in the assault were found guilty by an Indian court today.

Indirect Questions

The men in the survey were questioned by trained male interviewers, and were left alone to record the answers to the most sensitive questions. The word “rape” wasn’t used. Men were asked indirect questions such as, “Have you ever forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex?”

Previous studies focused on the female victims, Jewkes said; research on the male perpetrators had been limited to a study in South Africa.

The most common reason men gave for the violence was sexual entitlement, followed by entertainment and the wish to punish the woman. Rates for men raping men ranged from 1.5 percent of those surveyed in Indonesia to 7.7 percent in Papua New Guinea.

Since the research was limited to nine sites, the findings don’t represent the entire Asia-Pacific region, the author said. The numbers found do correspond with women’s accounts, Jewkes said, underlining the report’s validity.

Read full article at:


Carrie B (306)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 4:42 pm
In case there are others who have trouble reading the text ~ here it is:

The shocking findings of a study on sexual assault in Asia, published Tuesday in the Lancet Global Health journal, have been generating a lot of buzz, particularly the figures on Papua New Guinea, where 59 percent -- yes, more than a majority -- of men admitted to raping sexual partners.

The researchers involved in the study, which is part of a wider United Nations campaign to track and study sexual violence in the Asia-Pacific region, interviewed men aged 18 to 49 in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka. To control for some variation, the investigators used only male interviewers and did not use the word "rape" explicitly, asking instead if the subjects had "forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex."

By any measure, the numbers are unsettling. Across the region, 10 percent of men said they had raped a non-partner, and almost one in four -- 24 percent -- admitted to raping a partner. But one of the most striking parts of the study -- the largest of its kind ever conducted -- is the variation in frequency of sexual assault across countries. Percentages of non-partner rape, for instance, jump from 5.4 percent in rural Bangladesh to 23 percent in Jayapura, Indonesia to a staggering 41 percent in Papua New Guinea. All of which raises a question: What could possibly account for such a huge disparity in cultural propensities toward rape?

It's an incredibly complex question to tackle -- and far from a new one. In the late 1970s, anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday emerged as a pioneering scholar on the socio-cultural context of rape, taking on academics who studied the subject from an evolutionary and socio-biological perspective and found it to be, as a New York Times review put it, a "reproductive strategy for sexual losers."

Sanday dissected the cultural variables that made societies more or less prone to rape, arguing that ideologies of male toughness, traditions of violence, and a lack of female participation in politics were key factors in "rape-prone" societies.

Some of these variables appear to be at play in the Lancet study as well. Sanday, for instance, has observed traditions of "raiding other groups for wives" in the groups she studies; the Lancet study, similarly, hypothesizes that "the high prevalence of rape in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) and Jayapura (Indonesia) could be related to previous conflict in these settings."

Sanday's studies also find a correlation between low rates of female political participation and high rates of rape -- a link that is echoed by the Lancet study's findings. In the U.N. study, the country with the worst rape statistics by far was Papua New Guinea, which also happens to have the lowest rate of female parliamentary representation of the countries studied, with female MPs making up a mere 2.7 percent of Parliament.

Sanday's scholarship has also focused on the variables that discourage sexual violence, and she claims to have found an almost rape-free society in the Minangkabau culture in West Sumatra -- a matrilineal society where women make many major decisions, including those relating to marriage (in stark contrast to traditions like arranged marriages and bride prices, which some scholars believe have contributed to gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea). In the Minangkabau culture, women also wield considerable control over land and home ownership, with men moving into their wives' homes after marriage. It's a fundamental reversal of the dynamics that academics have criticized in countries like Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, where women's reliance on men often often acts as a deterrent in reporting abuse and rape (which, in turn, only encourages gender-based violence).

Sanday has her fair share of critics, and her work on the societal factors behind rape is by no means exhaustive -- she doesn't discuss the role of laws and severe legal sentencing in the rates of sexual assault, for example. But the most distinctive characteristic of her scholarship -- and the root of most of the criticism directed at her -- is its focus on rape primarily as an expression of social forces. The U.N. effort to track sexual violence, which was partly initiated in response to the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi in 2012, is part of an international push to explore that same idea. And if the findings so far are any indication, the campaign could have a real impact on discussions of how to combat sexual violence worldwide.


Jason S (50)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 6:32 pm
No humanity for other people in the world, Good posting, thanks

Eternal Gardener (745)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 7:40 pm
PNG's situation is out of hand, I'd like to understand why since violence isn't part of their culture...

Amy Fisher (11)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 8:54 pm
Very disturbing and frightening.

Past Member (0)
Thursday September 12, 2013, 11:30 pm
But Papua New Guinea has had a bad press for yonks. This is the country were ritual cannibalism was still practised not so long ago. A few years back, there was something in the newspaper about a PNG man apologising to a European man because his own grandfather had eaten the European's grandfather. In a way, the two acts (rape and cannibalism) are not totally dissimilar. They are about invading/absorbing the other's body to mark your superiority. Correct me if I am wrong but this is what comes to my mind when I hear this.

Frances D (135)
Friday September 13, 2013, 3:45 am
Very disturbing...

Past Member (0)
Friday September 13, 2013, 4:22 am
Jason S, for other parts of world? Never heard of the US military? As to Sanday, she does use the ulta-broad feminist definition of rape which muddies the water a bit.

. (0)
Friday September 13, 2013, 10:16 am

Elizabeth M (65)
Friday September 13, 2013, 1:56 pm
In so many of the Asian countries, women are looked down on, they are used and abused as men want.
Extremely sad, and I don't know wherein the answer lays to stop it. Educations is not the keep for these men. the women yes, but where do they go when they can no longer stand the abuse?
Than You for this important article Carrie.

Past Member (0)
Friday September 13, 2013, 3:17 pm
Dear Carrie.
I am from an Asian country and Elizabeth M is so right. Where does a woman go when she no longer stands abuse. Sometimes more harm is done instead of good by outside interfering. The wan can even suffer more. The change his to come from within the men themselves. Petitions don't work on this only infuriate them more

Roger G (154)
Friday September 13, 2013, 3:56 pm
noted, thanks

Rose Becke (141)
Friday September 13, 2013, 5:13 pm

S J (130)
Friday September 13, 2013, 5:28 pm
Noted, thanks Carrie

. (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 9:10 am
Thanks Kit for expanding on this.
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