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Updated: September 11, 2013 03:20 IST

Childhood abuse of men and notions of manhood associated with rape perpetration

Rukmini S
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Social, structural issues enabling violence against women should be addressed

A U.N. survey of 10,000 men in south and east Asia for the first time gives some insight into why it is that men commit rape.

Men were interviewed across nine sites in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea for the study, entitled ‘Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the U.N. Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific’ conducted by Partners for Prevention, a regional joint programme of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), U.N. Women and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Asia and the Pacific. It asked men about “their use and experiences of violence, gendered attitudes and practices, childhood, sexuality, family life and health”.

By far the most common reason, given by 70-80% of men, for committing a rape was sexual entitlement — “men’s belief that they have the right to sex, regardless of consent”. The second most common reasons are ‘for fun’ or due to ‘boredom’ followed by anger or ‘as a punishment’. Alcohol was the least common response given by men.

Rape perpetration by men was strongly associated with having more sexual partners, having paid for sex in the past, and having used physical violence against female partners. “These behaviours are interpreted as not merely expressing sex seeking but more so as ideas of masculinity that emphasize heterosexual performance and dominance over women,” the report said. “The study shows that rape is about the exertion of power but it can also be the performance of a certain type of masculinity.” Some men also expressed frustration with the dominant notions of what it means to be a man.

Many men who admitted to committing rape had been physically or sexually abused as children or neglected by their families. Low socioeconomic status, food insecurity, low educational attainment, alcohol abuse and drug use were also associated with rape perpetration. A large proportion of men reported very high levels of depression, stress and suicidal thoughts.

Those who used sexual violence against their partners were more likely to have experienced gender inequality in the home and child abuse, while non-partner rape was correlated more strongly with “notions of manhood that promote heterosexual dominance and participation in violence outside the home”.

“Violence against women is never acceptable or justifiable. But, we do need to understand men’s lives for prevention, and that was the central premise of our research,” Emma Fulu, Research Specialist at Partners for Prevention and lead author of the report, told The Hindu in an email. “While individual men must be held accountable, we need to work to address broader social and structural issues that enable violence against women to exist in the first place. The findings of the study highlight the need to address gender inequality alongside men’s own experiences of violence, especially as children, as well as other characteristics that may exacerbate violence, such as depression, alcohol abuse, and low levels of education,” Ms. Fulu said.

While a large majority of men supported the “abstract idea” of gender equality, many believed domestic violence was acceptable, and that household work was the woman’s job. In Bangladesh, dowry taking was strongly correlated with violence against women.

Its true - when a person is not clear about his goal/ his mind turns towards lot of unnecessary things around him..
Its really absurd things to point out at male community and say men are prone to raping..
At the same time Personally I dont agree - those who march with a candle and project theselves as a saviour for women..Prevention is better than Cure - So in order to come over this I would suggest - some questions that we need to address..
1. Why are our media/marketing and movies - project the women as sex dolls...More than Glamour - I believe they can do much better to society...Medias/Movie Industry will say - Its because we watch they make money out of it..So where is the error..Can there be a change in this?
2. We speak more about gender equality and all these non sense out side on road...How many of us are supportive to our own family members in our day to day routines (like households -cooking,washing etc)..
Without the attitude change - we cant expect much

from:  Richard
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 15:03 IST

How relevant is the study to my country and society, when it has been conducted "across nine sites in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea"? Questions also arise about how the so-called "study" was conducted. Was it over the Net, or were the "men" interviewed personally? How were the "men" who were inerviewed chosen? Were they asked to answer a questionnaire, or were they asked ad lib questions which varied from person to person and from one interviewer to another? If it was a questionnaire, did it have open ended questions or fixed-answer ones? How was it ensured that the "men" were telling the truth and, particularly, not "bragging"?

from:  T S Raman
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 14:32 IST

A much needed study! However, we need to go into a little more depth.
There seems to be a strong nexus in our minds between sex and power. The success
of books like " 50 Shades of Grey" seems to perhaps point to the power fantasies
that most humans have, but which most humans are careful to keep hidden and
suppressed.(i.e. both men and women).
Education, Discipline, Moral standards, Respect, and finally love, usually/hopefully
tend to take centre stage in most of our minds nowadays. Power fantasies are played
out in more acceptable arena's. this is especially so with the more integrated
minds/personalities, and in the more developed countries.
Lack of integration and maturity in men is evident when a man finds himself
attracted to a part of a woman's body, rather than all that constitutes her wholeness.
So we men like to comment on how this woman has a nice --- etc. Women thus get
objectified in the minds of such men.

from:  Jimmy Mody
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 12:25 IST

Walk the streets of the cities in india every city and you could find 50% youth just loitering randomly-aimlessly crowding the cities
Ex: just go on foot length /breadth of Bombay and you will find the truth.
Walk outside the film theaters in early morning show s-you will find youth crowding the places -instead of attending work -these are huge social problems of the state and central govt.
they are poor- home less or barely -not educated - no job- no family- no parental care or love -what do you expect ?
most of them are from broken homes -unable to make both ends met while no skill to find employment thus stooping to any level to get money.
Let Tv net work travel length /breadth of every city in India -interview the youngsters and see what they get.
while actually there is shortage of labor in the country- people refusing to work hard or obtain skills .
Only solution is compulsorily the govt should induct by LAW every Indian to be inducted into the military.

from:  thomas
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 11:36 IST

The finding that "men's belief that they have the right to sex regardless of consent" given as the reason by 70 to 80 percent of the men committing rapes, by Pareto Analysis is the single major factor that needs to be addressed to to bring down the rapes and related crimes on women considerably, if that is the real factor. The various other factors that the UN survey enumerates are no doubt relevant, particularly the child abuse of men. Such statistics are just academic. The rules and laws have been framed and enforced from time immemorial
recognizing these weaknesses in men, besides, inculcating moral discipline through religion and culture. The only solution is to ruthlessly punish the guilty to deter such behaviors in men and simultaneously provide the right environment to desist such behavior in men by providing proper education based on moral codes right from the childhood both at home and in schools. The latter alone cannot be a substitute for punishment to the guilty.

from:  M.R.Sampath
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 11:31 IST

I think, there are plenty of other factors play a crucial role in the
rape perpetration and our society itself is the major one among them.
Actually, this is a result of PARTIAL influence of western culture.
a part of our society is subjected to the western culture, while the
rest is not ready to accept, due to perennial dogmas and tenets.
so, this is nothing but the ramifications and repercussions of the
clashes between these two.

from:  Akash
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 08:52 IST

Harsh punishments, strict laws, gender inequality - a lot has been spoken about. But to bring about real change society needs to focus on children. Today's victims might be tomorrow's villains. Ms. Fulu's research rightly points at this neglected aspect of sexual violence.

from:  Ranginee Choudhury
Posted on: Sep 10, 2013 at 12:01 IST
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