Gang rape hit the headlines last year after the brutal attack of a woman on a bus in India’s capital, Delhi. But new research suggests that gang rape is a wider problem across Asia – with some of the highest recorded levels of violence against women in the world to be found within the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite years of attention and millions spent on preventing it, there has been little or no measured decrease in its occurrence. And simply responding to the outcomes of violence has not been enough to end it.
For the first time, researchers have compiled cross-country data from men – those who admit to using violence against women, and those who do not. It is hoped that understanding men’s own experiences will help to target the causes of violence against women and prevent it from happening at all.
Four UN agencies interviewed 10,000 men across seven countries in the Asia-Pacific, with startling results.
One in four said they had raped a woman or girl, while one in 25 admitted to taking part in gang rape.
Men say they start raping early, often in their teenage years and are frequently motivated by sexual entitlement. While the rates of violence are shocking, the variations between countries is giving hope to those working on programmes to prevent violence and rape, because it demonstrates that early intervention can make a difference.
The research confirmed that there is no single cause of violence, but a complex interplay of factors related to individual experiences, community norms, and societal elements.
101 East travels to Cambodia, a country representing some of the highest levels of rape in the region, to speak with men themselves about why they commit these crimes and to find out if the perpetrators can trigger new ideas for prevention.