In a current Australian co-sponsored study of sexual violence in six Asia-Pacific countries, one in every four men admitted raping a woman or girl and one in every 25 had participated in gang rape. These are data averages from more than ten thousand men interviewed by the United Nations Partners for Prevention ‘Change Project’.
Across the entire region, one in every two men said they had used violence against an intimate partner.
The study’s preliminary findings were presented at the United Nations in March and reported, on average, nearly one in two perpetrators saying they rape women ‘for entertainment’ or out of ‘boredom’ and roughly one in three said he rapes out of anger and the desire to punish.
A very disturbing finding was that almost three out of every four claim rape is men’s prerogative.
They said men are entitled to take what is rightfully theirs [women's bodies] regardless of consent.
I was in Fiji last week and read a report of a meeting attended by the country’s Attorney General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Kaiyum.
If Mr Sayed Khiayum was correctly quoted by the Fiji Sun on Saturday 20th April, he was reported to say that a young girl being pregnant “was not always the boy’s fault”.
The report also attributed the Attorney General as having said that “if a girl was raped by her own father and got pregnant, she would not want to be stating to everyone that the father of her child was her own father as this would be shameful”.
When these kinds of attitude are espoused not just by perpetrators but by the highest legal officer of the land, it’s obvious that male perpetrators are not accepting responsibility for their actions.
And whilst men continue to believe they are entitled to rape and are not required to accept consequences for their actions, Pacific women will live in fear and be at risk.
Just one more reason I am passionate about UnitingWorld’s current emphasis on helping to empower and support Pacific women and resource them through education and training to be leaders in their churches and communities. I strongly believe this is the only way we’ll see genuine change in these widespread attitudes.
Click here to support Pacific Women through our Transforming Lives through Leadership project. http://www.unitingworld.org.au/transformlives