I think this should be read by all. The sexual entitlement idea is latent in many comments when there is news of a rape. As long as the public thinks so, a female has to try her best to protect herself
Photograph from Reuters
Rachel Jewkes. Photograph courtesy Chris Palethorpe
Published September 14, 2013
One in four men surveyed for a United Nations study in Asia and the Pacific admitted raping at least one woman.
The UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific surveyed over 10,000 men at nine sites in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka. At the survey site in China, 23 percent of men admitted to at least one rape. In Papua New Guinea, that figure was 61 percent.
To understand what's behind such startling figures, National Geographic spoke with Rachel Jewkes, the lead technical adviser for the study.
You've studied rape extensively in South Africa and now across Asia and the Pacific. How did you get involved in this kind of research?
I moved out to South Africa from England in 1994. I had a job to set up the women's health research unit in the South African Medical Research Council. I was told that the key issues in women's health were things like teenage pregnancy, so I said, "Okay, I'm willing to do research on teenage pregnancy, but as part of this work I want to talk to teenagers about how they got pregnant." We interviewed 24 pregnant teenagers. Twenty-three out of the 24 told us stories about being raped. I had absolutely no idea that sexual violence was a phenomenon that could have this sort of prevalence.
What have you learned about why men rape?
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.
What do you mean by 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.
How did you select the countries that you studied?
It certainly wasn't because we knew that rape or violence against women was more common in those countries. We wanted to get a range of different parts of Asia, so we wanted south Asia, southeast Asia, and east Asia as well as the Pacific. Then we wanted countries where we had a UN partner that would fund the study and was committed to using the results for developing prevention programming.
How did you get the men who were surveyed to participate, let alone answer the questions honestly?
Well, there were two things. The first is that we didn't say, "Look here, we're doing a survey on rape," because that would not have been a winning line. In most countries, this is a survey about family health and relationships, which is true because the questionnaire has a lot of health questions in it, and there were lots of relationship questions.
The second thing is that we used partial self-completion for this survey. Questions were administered by a field worker of the same sex as the person we were interviewing, but there was one schedule of questions for men that was self-completed. We did this because we felt that men would be much more happy about providing information about illegal activities—rape, gang involvement, drugs, homosexuality—if they didn't have to actually verbalize the answer to a fieldworker. We set it up using an app on an iPod touch.
Why is the incidence of rape so high in Papua New Guinea?
I think it's the confluence of a culture that is extremely patriarchal and a culture 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.
Why is rape comparatively less common in other countries that you studied?
I think that they may be slightly 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.
Nearly 4 percent of the men surveyed said they had participated in gang rape. Are there differences between perpetrators of single rapes and gang rapes?
Gang rape is associated more with poverty. There's been quite interesting research to argue that men come together in gangs and then get involved in a whole range of violence and antisocial activities as a way of trying to assert their masculinity, to make themselves feel like strong and powerful men. The conditions of poverty that they live in prevent them from having access to more traditional manifestations of manhood, such as being a provider. Their energies get directed rather into demonstrating sexual success with women, demonstrating dominance and control over women, and fighting with other men.
What issues do public health officials immediately worry about when they see a high prevalence of rape?
A very high proportion of women who are raped develop mental health consequences. Some research suggests that nearly all of them develop some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some stage. PTSD is very debilitating because it severely interferes with social relationships. Mothers with PTSD are much less able to look after their children, and they're much less able to keep a job.
In circumstances where you see lots of non-partner sexual violence, you are also likely to see a lot of child abuse that needs to be addressed and lots of other violence used in other ways in the society. It really is a big job trying to program ways to reduce exposure to violence overall in society.
Do you think the process of answering the survey questions made the men who had raped reconsider their actions?
If you ask men if they made their wife have sex even if she didn't want it and they say yes, at the end of the interview you ask, "What was the most severe consequence? Did you get arrested? Did you get jailed?" At [that] point ... they sit up and say, "You mean, I've just told you I've done something I could get arrested or jailed for?" It certainly made them sit up and think. We actually know that that's the case from work in South Africa, because we've gone back and interviewed people after they've been asked questions.
What do you hope happens now as a result of this study?
I've got two hopes. The first is that there is a political commitment in the countries where we worked to develop a proper program of action for violence prevention and to actually implement it.
The second hope is that at a global level people sit up and think about violence perpetration in a different way. I would like to see us in a place where we say: Our goal is going to be to end violence against women. That would be an incredibly powerful development agenda. We know that violence against women is not only incredibly harmful to the individual women, but it [also] has an impact on women's involvement in the economy and education.
In order to end violence against women, we have to end violence against children. If we end violence against children, we have a huge impact on violence of all kinds perpetuated across the globe.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
I am really glad this survey was conducted. The study highlights that "sexual entitlement" and a complex array of cultural and social factors play a role, as do material and economic conditions:
"Rape perpetration also was associated with men’s own victimization, particularly abuse in childhood. Low socioeconomic status, indicated by current food insecurity and low educational attainment were associated as was alcohol abuse and drug use." Pg14 of the Summary report HERE.
Having said that, there are serious problems with the way this report has been REPORTED IN THE MEDIA, not specifically NatGeo but more widely across other news sources.
There is a data visualisation report on the research website linked at the beginning of this article. First page: "The UN Multi-country on Men and Violence was conducted in nine sites across Asia and the Pacific. The findings are representative of the study sites but not representative of the entire Asia-Pacific region."
The number of times that important disclaimer was reduced to "1 in 4 Men in Asia Rape" in Western media was pretty appalling, particularly when you consider violence against women stats in Western countries.
Perhaps the most important part of the summary report - that I haven't seen reported to the same degree as those inflammatory "1 in 4 Asian men" headlines - were WHAT THE FINDINGS MEAN IN A BROADER SOCIAL CONTEXT (pg 16) AND THE IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS (pg 17).
WELL WORTH THE READ HERE.
...... and at midnight little girl and boys scream silently in their heads when they hear their bedroom door slowly open...... foot step...foot step...... "wake up sweetheart,but don't make a sound...... night after night...... dirty little secrets....
Very shocking, however I wonder what definition of rape they were using, how the question was asked and what percentage were non-partner vs partner.
These would have a very significant meaning to the results.
Paul Rogieri apparently is a male--because he thinks that "no" does not mean
"no." For old-world, dogmatic, black-white males, "no" or not being fully conscious to give consent means "no." And if sex is coerced ("seduced"?) after a "no," or without being given a "yes" in words or kind, IT IS RAPE. There are no grey areas, thank goodness, and the sooner all males realize that (including some judges), the better for this world. And also women--to have the strength to say "no" because if they don't, then unfortunately the law says they have given consent.
It is also interesting that the reader herein implied that sexual harassment is not "rape." True, there are categories of any offense however, one must also realize that some women can be especially vulnerable (by way of genetic predisposition or childhood abuse) to even the slightest sexual affront--and develop PTSD, phobias, etc. that prevent normal, daily functioning.
(I am sure that any research paper would delineate definitions and criteria for their phenomenon of study, and National Geographic would benefit from defining exactly what the authors' criteria of rape was.
I proposed doing a qualitative research study on the "rape" question on students from an Asian country to the US. However, both University of California and a less-known trauma center in northern California also associated with UC were lethargic in providing me with the ethical permission necessary to conduct research with people.
Results of such a study would augment the amazing study by Rachel Jewkes, above, for people from the countries she studied, to the US. It is not only the perpetration of rape by immigrants when in their country, but their opinions as educated people, and the subjectivities of women immigrants on the topic.
I think in some cultures rape is something natural it is like applying to marriage. By example in Burkina Faso et North Cote d Ivoire you can t marry a girl before raping here, it is in their culture. You have to Kidnap her et rape her .I am African from theses countries I know what I am saying.
The ambiguity surrounding "consent" or "when 'yes' means 'no' " is nothing new, but for a supposed academic to conclude that sex - "unwanted" at some point - always equates to rape is ridiculous.
The shrill indignation expressed by feminists at the low conviction rate for rape will only escalate unless/until they get serious and define terms- and unless feminists consider men to be lesser forms of humanity - then defining terms is OWED to men if they (feminists) want to accuse men of crime.
Why won't they define terms?
They won't define terms because that wouldn't serve their purpose, which is to deny men happiness by placing women unquestionably ABOVE them where expressing desire, including sexual desire, is concerned.
As the feminists would have it, the only sex that a man can engage in without unreasonable guilt feelings or fear of a rape implication is sex that she, and ONLY she, intitiates. ANYTHING else, when considered in a legal, objective way is suspect, unless feminists agree to define terms.
Hell will freeze over before they do that.
OMG if the statistics are this high for men who admit to raping, you know that the statistic of rape period is astronomical for the men who din't admit it & weren't even polled!
When will men respect and love women as an equal. Violence is all about power.i am bigger,and better than you. Your voice doesn't count!
This is ridiculous. I live in Hong Kong, i don't believe 23%of men in China did rape.
Which cities did she do the survey? Do these cities represent whole China?
I am wondering how does Ms. Shea differentiate rape. Does it include sexual harassment？
If yes, I would consider to believe her survey.
'' If a woman is raped, she would be blamed for putting herself at risk for being raped. '' You wrote this in answer one question, but is the most horrible idea, when women loss freedom and right.
Has anyone raised the question that perhaps those teenagers, 23 out of 24, who claimed that their pregnancy was due to raped, were allegedly claimed and maybe less then truthful in order to get out of trouble. Could it be, they say that to shift responsibilities or guilt of wrong doing away from them out of fear of being judged harsly? Also, to draw compassion and to solicit help. Telling lies can be contagious among teenagers as they are more likely to learn and pickup habits from each others. We know that South Africa had a high rate of rape in comparing to other countries, but 23 out of 24 is just way suspectingly high. I am guessing the numbers are somewhat lower; but not to make light of the matter, rape is a serious and problematic subject in all societies.
As a female in China, I have to say that this really doesn't reflect the reality I see around me. Either the truth is hidden well, or there's a significant demographic division, or the study is exaggerating the reality.
To be clear, I am the proverbial bleeding heart liberal, and I object to this study on scientific grounds pure and simple.
There were two measures for partner rape. The first refers to using "force," which I can accept as reasonable. The second, refers to having intercourse when "he knew she did not want it but believed she should agree because she was his wife." No doubt, this can involve cases where there is true abuse. But this can just as easily involve Debra Barone rolling her eyes, and saying with a smile "OK, Ray, let;s get it over with."
My objection: it is unlikely that every person flagged by this question is in fact abusing his spouse. So this overstates the number of marital "rapes" in Asia.
Look if one wants to collect statistics to help protect Asian women, I'm all for that. But, let's do it in a way that we can defend. Otherwise, we have no tools to argue against the positions held by those who oppose us.
(As an aside, this question is a no-no in social science research: it conjoins too many items. A man who gets unwanted sex, but not because of any beliefs about marital roles would answer "no" to this question. Moreover, the study authors report finding a relationship between "rape" and a sense of entitlement. Well, if this rape variable contains within it beliefs about entitlement, have you in anyway found a causal relationship? No, you have a tautology.)
It's already given me quite a shock! About the figures in China, where I live now. I have to say, the women in China have not been treated with men's respect yet. They work, raise the children, put money on the table,and so on, do the same resposibility as men, but never been treated fairly like men.
Just reading the comments here makes it clear that many males don't understand that "making" someone have unwanted sex is rape. The myth of the stranger jumping out of the bushes is what keeps males from acknowledging and changing their sexually abusive behaviors. They rationalize, "Yeah, I physically overpowered her but she's my wife/girlfriend, I was drunk, I have needs, she wasn't physically injured...blah...blah...blah..." never thinking of themselves "I'm a rapist".
A fascinating study. I do, however, take issue with this bit.
< If you ask men if they made their wife have sex even if she didn't want it and they say yes,>
As a man I have also engaged in sex when I didn't want to, too tired, whatever, and do not consider myself to be raped. So, the question comes to mind, does this imply this part of the questionnaire is flawed?
Raped is abhorrent, but it does not serve the cause of righting this horrible truth by being vague as to what rape represents. Outright violence is clearly rape, but there is rape of coercion, threat, etc.
Being in a relationship and insisting upon sex from one's mate is a rather unpleasant, maybe pathetic situation but I do not believe it is necessarily a cause for a partner to feel violated. It is at least a far cry from rape.
It's quite clear from this study that religion does NOT make people act better overall (the countries surveyed are VERY religious). In fact, it teaches men about their 'right' to dominate and subjugate woman. Rape is just one of many by-products of the religious, entitled-male mind.
To find the lowest rape rates, look at countries with the lowest church/mosque attendance.
Religion poisons EVERYTHING.
I am agnostic on what the true rate of rape is in Western society or otherwise. The truth is that these are events that are unseen, hard to verify, and dependent upon definition.
What I do object to is shoddy work. It is a disservice to us all.
One of the two primary measures used for rape within the marriage is whether a spouse engages in sex that he suspects his wife may not want, regardless of consent or quality of consent. Moreover, the question is worded in a form that is difficult to understand.
Hey, if you want to believe a study merely because it suspects what you want to believe. Why do the study? Just announce your predisposition and be done with it.
I find it interesting the comments on this Article. The Men do not know or fully understand what is violence against a women. I Canada 1 out of 4 females are subjected to violence of some type in her life time. This are NATIONAL stats here not from this Article.
f you want to find agreement among men in western countries and their enemies in the Middle East and Asia, all you have to do is tell them (including me) that "rape is a huge problem and men must drastically change their behavior."
No matter how much you hate your fellow man, you'll ALWAYS be in agreement that violence against women is "blown way out of proportion." Israeli and Palestinian men; U.S. men and those in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc., etc., will all agree and argue that "things are not as bad as they seem." In fact, they'll never agree on anything EXCEPT for this point of view.
While it's further proof that all men are related and belong to just one human family, IT'S OH SO VERY WRONG.
We men have a big problem. We just don't like being accused of having one and will always deny the enormity of the hellish horror we've created for our sisters and daughters; an evil horror we could stop if we truly wanted to.
I see that many commenters disbelieve this study because the percentages seem too high.
It is already well-known that PNG and South Africa (together with parts of central Africa) are the worst areas of the world when it comes to rapes, and it's also well corroborated that the more patriarchal a society is the more prevalent rape is. Earlier studies by e.g. the UN have come to similar conclusions to this study.
I do however admit I was a bit surprised by China.
@doudou mayram Not true. It's been observed in a number of mammal species. Do some research on your own. I can immediately recall reading reports of it among dolphins and orangutans, but that's hardly the limit of it.
@Amirpouria Dargahi An interview with a world authority on the subject, and you couldn't find anything useful? That makes no sense to me. I've found this so useful that I'll be writing about it on my blog. (I'm a professional who treats PTSD and DID. Rape is a common experience of my clients.)
@Daniel Grubbs You should really consider that the people who do this kind of research are not idiots. You're not going to outthink them, or find a problem with their method they haven't already thought off. All such field research is run through a pilot study before it's actually launched. I know this from personal experience, having done social science research in the field.
@anna krygier I think we can go further: "In order to end violence against anyone, we have to end violence against children."
What about my saying "when 'yes" means 'no' " could possibly be construed as "no" not meaning "no"? Please explain that.
The entire " yes meaning no" (NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!)conundrum, where consent for sex is concerned, is an invention of feminists.
By that, they have implied that if HE asks repeatedly, then HER "yes" is really a "no" - to which I would have to ask: Is there a time interval here, or is asking again, after a NO, "asking repeatedly"? Is it the same if he asks in five days as if he asked in five minutes? Women may think this to be an obtuse way of questioning, but these things ought to be clarified if we're going to accuse someone of a CRIME for getting it wrong.
Of course, if she says "yes" because she fears he'll end the relationship otherwise, then it's really a "no".
In no way is a man in a relationship entitled to sex, but he IS entitled to end the relationship if the "no"s are repeated to his dissatisfaction. She is not entitled to the benefits of the relationship any more than he is entitled to sex.
Drunk or drugged women for sex? Who needs that? If you want to call it rape, I'll go along, though you should expect lots of legal challenges. Not everyone is a good judge of when someone is drunk or stoned. Along that line of thought, I'd hope that a guy would get some consideration if he himself is drunk or stoned - though I don't expect much from you misandrists.
You wrote: "I am African from theses [sic] countries I know what I am saying."
You may well be, but in this context you are a faceless person on the Internet, and people would be correct to regard your comment as dubious, with the absence of actual proof.
You have inspired me, however, to fact check your claims.
@Hermione Pan You can read my reply to Lady Maginat Lee. That is also my response to you, my dear.
@iceberg surfing The privileged, one-child generation has now reversing the situation of gender inequality. As a 80's man, I strongly feel it from the next generation. Nowadays, it is hard to say that who 's taking advantage from whom :)
@iceberg surfing Oh! are you kidding? as a citizen in China , I can tell you the truth responsibly, women in CHINA ,especially in urban place like Shanghai, they have a very high standing in life! If U live in CHINA today ,you'll see a civilized country, where man and woman in equal place. No investigation have no voice !
@Patrick Quon The study did not use the words 'physically overpowered'. The study mostly did not ask about force, but rather about want and desire.
The number of men who replied that they used violence or threats of violence to get sex was very small.
It wasn't scary enough to only count 7% of men as rapists(my estimate), so they added questions that were poorly worded and had nothing to do with consent or quality of consent so they could get a higher number, so they could scare people into oppressing men even more.
Don't fall for the propaganda.
http://llltexas.com <- my blog
@Den Harwood If a 6-foot-tall male "makes" a 5 foot four inch female have unwanted sex, that's not "unpleasant". That's rape. The question wasn't "did you persuade/seduce someone who was initially reluctant into having willing sex". The question was "did you MAKE them have [unwilling] sex". Being seduced when not initially in the mood is a far cry from being made to do something against one's will. The fact that males almost always have a physical, financial and social power imbalance over females makes is mandatory that ethical males recognize this power imbalance and NEVER "make" a female have sex against her will.
@Den Harwood Depends, Is your wife physically capable of using violence or a deadly weapon to coerce you into having sex? Can she beat you to the point of putting you into the ER for weeks if you don't comply? Better yet, has she every pulled a gun on your and told you to have sex or else?
No? Then your comment about having sex when you "didn't want to" is SOOO not the same thing. Take your mansplaining and go elsewhere.
@Peter Ateo Actually, only faith can prevent people doing evil things, religions can not, laws either.
@Peter Martin What do you mean, "our enemies in the Middle East and Asia"? I have no enemies there. Who do you mean? Also, are you suggesting perhaps, as radical feminists have long suggested, that all men are rapists, it's just a question of under what circumstances they will rape? If so, I think that's insulting nonsense. Sexism is okay when directed at males, I know that. But still when you say "we men have a big problem," you are only right in saying "we" don't like being accused of having one. I have no problem of this sort whatsoever, so speak for yourself, and think twice before you paint all men with your very broad brush.
@Wilf Tarquin As a citizen in China , I can tell you the truth responsibly, women in CHINA ,especially in urban place like Shanghai, they have a very high standing in life! If U live in CHINA today ,you'll see a civilized country, where man and woman in equal place. I disbelieve this percentages in CHINA
@Wilf Tarquin Did you bother reading the study? Some of the questions were designed to count as 'rape' things that no sane person would count as rape.
The definition used for 'rape' was 'unwanted sex', not 'nonconsensual sex'.
Frankly I'm surprised that only 25% of men admited to it. It happens in any half decent relationship regularly.
http://llltexas.com <- my blog
@Paul Logieri If your wife keeps saying no you need to talk with her and improve your relationship.
@Paul Logieri If your wife keeps saying no then you need to find out why; i.e. work on the relationship. Otherwise, don't get married.
@Allen HuEven now the one-child policy has been relaxed, mandatory termination of pregnancy happens all the time. Many low income families can not afford two kids, that is to say, they can not afford the risk of having a female baby. And you guess what? The much more ironic thing is, meanwhile,there are also plenty of mandatory pregnancy! Too many women who are diagnosed by gynecologist in no condition to carry a baby, have to be pregnant as their husbands demand, of course they want a son. Accordingly, the marital rape rate rises, for many men want to have unprotected sex with their wifes (you know what I mean *0*）There are so many women suffering from the male domination but some native ladies just look at the world through a fancy mansion’ window, which pisses me off, even though I am not a feminist. By the way ,I am a millenia generation too.
@Maginat lee @iceberg surfing
I live in Shanghai and lead a relatively rich, comfort life, which doesn't mean I know little about the living condition of the underclass, or the poverty-striken regions in this country. Let me guess, you are a Chinese citizen,and you can talk, write and argue in English, in another word, you are living in literate class and at least, economically self-sufficient. Maybe, a delicate rose grown in a garden secured by strong fence can not understand how toughly the wild weed is living outside the fence. In China, many women now are suffering form family violence, marital rape, mandatory abortion ( many husbands demand the wife terminate the pregnancy just because the baby is female),and the love affair of their husbands, the most part of who come from working class and are undereducated. So, go on living in the beautiful garden secured by income stability and high education. You would never see the world outside the wall. P.S, hypothetically, now you are a young charming female, as you are aging, you would find the men around you might not be so gentle again \(^o^)/~
@Xira Arien You are not entitled to sex. You are not entitled to sex from your wife or from anyone else. By asking the males if they had MADE someone have unwanted sex, the authors are exposing attitudes just like yours, attitudes of sexual entitlement which ignore the needs/feelings/wishes of the smaller/weaker/less-powerful sex partner.
The propaganda which you have fallen for is the propaganda that there are these scary feminist researchers running around trying to guilt-trip innocent males into feeling bad about themselves. I don't buy that for a minute. No one can build a career as a published, peer-reviewed social scientist with that kind of bias. I think these researchers are trying their best to expose the reality of sexual violence which they have found during their research:
"We interviewed 24 pregnant teenagers. Twenty-three out of the 24 told us stories about being raped. I had absolutely no idea that sexual violence was a phenomenon that could have this sort of prevalence."
She didn't go in there with an agenda; she was as shocked as anyone at the prevalence of sexual violence perpetrated against women.
@iceberg surfing Faith is EXACTLY what it takes to DO evil things. No one flies planes into buildings, eradicates neighboring tribes, stones women for "adultery" after they've been raped, or mutilates their daughter's genitalia --- without FAITH.
How to Feed Our Growing Planet
National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.
The Innovators Project
Three decades ago, the innovative physicist had a eureka moment that explained the universe.
Latest News Video
For Sam Droege, bees aren't just a job—they're a way of life. His house abounds with them and his macro photography offers a dazzling glimpse of bees.