Earlier this week, United Nations researchers published the results of the world's most thorough scientific survey on sexual violence—a two-year survey that spanned six countries and included over 10,000 men ages 18-49 years old. Here are the results, via the LATimes:
More than 10,000 men were surveyed in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.
More than 1 in 10 reported forcing a woman who was not their partner to have sex, the report said. When partners were included, the figure rose to 24%.
Just under half of these men said they had raped more than one woman.
However, the results varied widely between study sites. About 4% of men surveyed in Bangladesh reported raping a woman who was not their partner, compared with 41% on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea.
Here's why the study is so important: Many men don't connect nonconsensual sex to rape—rape is when you put a gun to a woman's head and she's crying, while nonconsensual sex is just, you know, forcing a woman to have sex when she doesn't want it. For that reason, ThinkProgress.org explains that "the researchers intentionally didn’t use the word 'rape' in any of their questionnaires about Asian men’s sexual histories. Instead, they asked men whether they had ever 'forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,' or if they had ever 'had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it.'"
This survey indicates that at least 2,500 women in these regions are rape survivors. At least. Here's more from ThinkProgress.org:
Nearly 23 percent said they had raped two to three people, 12 percent say they had raped four to ten people, and about 4 percent said they had raped more than ten people. Here in the United States, some research has drawn similar conclusions about repeat rapists at the college level. A Harvard University study found that the young men who commit a rape in college are likely to become serial offenders—and many of them do, since lenient sexual assault policies on college campuses often allow them to evade punishment.
As the article goes on to state, "Men rape because they have been taught that they have a right to claim women’s bodies." Rape is an international health epidemic, and it deserves the same attention and preventative outreach that other international health epidemics receive.