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1 in 4 men admit to rape in survey of Asia-Pacific

Sites studied by U.N. had wide variances in rates

Nearly a quarter of the men surveyed in parts of the Asia-Pacific region say they have raped a woman.

The startling findings, published Tuesday in the Lancet Global Health, come from a United Nations study on rape and violence against intimate partners.

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 percent.

However, the results varied widely between study sites. About 4 percent of men surveyed in Bangladesh reported raping a woman who was not their partner, compared with 41 percent on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea.

The high prevalence of rape in Bougainville could be associated with a long history of civil unrest, but such a link is not clear, the researchers said.

The most common reasons given by the men for committing rape were that they felt entitled to sex (73 percent), found it entertaining (59 percent) or did it to punish a woman (38 percent).

Men with a history of victimization, especially those raped or sexually abused as children, were more likely to have committed rape themselves, the survey found. Other associated factors included a history of physical violence toward a partner, of paying for sex or having a large number of sexual partners.

Michele Decker, a social epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said such findings “justifiably create global outrage,” especially after high-profile cases such as the gang rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi in December.