Almost a quarter of men in parts of Asia admit to raping a woman, a report by the United Nations has revealed.
The alarming results show that while the majority of sexual assaults took place within a relationship, one in ten men confessed to forcing a woman to have sex outside of marriage.
The figures came after 10,000 men in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea were interviewed.
While the survey does not represent the whole of Asia it is still one of the most comprehensive of its kind to date and is the first multi-country study to focus on the prevalence of rape and reasons behind it.
‘It’s clear violence against women is far more widespread in the general population than we thought,’ said Rachel Jewkes of South Africa’s Medical Research Council, who led the study.
Of the men who admitted rape, just under half had done so more than once.
Perhaps even more alarming still, 75 per cent of those men said they committed the act for reasons of ‘sexual entitlement’.
Report author Dr Emma Fulu said: ‘They believed they had the right to have sex with the woman regardless of consent.
‘The second most common motivation reported was to rape as a form of entertainment, so for fun or because they were bored (60 per cent).’
That was followed by using rape as a form of punishment or because the man was angry (40 per cent). She added: ‘Perhaps surprisingly, the least common motivation was alcohol.
Only about half of the men said they felt guilty about their crime and 23 per cent had been imprisoned for a rape.
It also revealed that men who had suffered some form of abuse as a child were more likely to commit rape.
The research was funded by several United Nations agencies and Australia, Britain, Norway and Sweden. The papers were published online today in the journal, Lancet Global Health.
Papua New Guinea was the worst offender of the countries surveyed with six men in ten admitting to violating a woman while in Bangladesh that figure was just under one in ten.
‘These data justifiably create global outrage, accentuated by horrific recent high-profile cases, including the brutal gang rape of a student in New Delhi,’ said Dr Michele Decker from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore
‘More than half of non-partner rape perpetrators first did so as adolescents, which affirms that young people are a crucial target population for prevention of rape.
The figures were released today, the same day four men were convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in New Delhi.
While India was not among countries surveyed in the UN report, it has been rocked to its core by a series of recent rape cases that have sparked widespread outrage as well as changes to the law.
None more so than the case wound up today. All that is left, appeals pending, is their sentencing tomorrow. The victim’s family led calls today for them all to be hanged, the legal penalty for such a crime in India.