About 1 in 10 men in some parts of Asia admitted raping a woman who was not their partner,according to the first large studies of rape and sexual violence. When their wife or girlfriend was included,that figure rose to about a quarter.
International researchers said their startling findings should change perceptions about how common violence against women is and prompt major campaigns to prevent it. Still,the results were based on a survey of only six Asian countries and the authors said it was uncertain what rates were like elsewhere in the region and beyond.
They said engrained sexist attitudes contributed,but that other factors like poverty or being emotionally and physically abused as children were major risk factors for mens violent behavior.
A previous report from the World Health Organisation found one third of women worldwide say they have been victims of domestic or sexual violence.
Its clear violence against women is far more widespread in the general population than we thought, said Rachel Jewkes of South Africas Medical Research Council,who led the two studies. The research was paid for by several United Nations agencies and Australia,Britain,Norway and Sweden. The papers were published online Tuesday in the journal,Lancet Global Health.
In the new research,male interviewers surveyed more than 10,000 men in Bangladesh,China,Cambodia,Indonesia,Sri Lanka and Papa New Guinea. The word rape was not used in the questions,but the men were asked if they had ever forced a woman to have sex when she wasnt willing or if they had ever forced sex on someone too drunk or drugged to consent.
In most places,scientists concluded between 6 to 8 per cent of men raped a woman who wasnt their partner. When they included wives and girlfriends,the figures were mostly between 30 to 57 per cent. The lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Indonesia and the highest were in Papua New Guinea.