Let’s talk about something that might intrigue a lot of people… Whether you’re a woman or a man, a teenager or an adult, this issue is no stranger in our everyday life. We’re talking about sexual harassment or assault.
Even to this day, with numerous sexual offences act have been brought to light all across the globe, the issue is still inevitable. Unfortunately, in Asia and the Pacific, sexual misconduct is a little bit more concerning than other parts of the world. Though it’s nothing new, we still have to raise the issue in order to make the society becomes aware of the ugly truth. Furthermore, to understand a little bit better about why it happens, how it impacts not just the victim but to the society/country, and what would it take to better the situation.
Cases Across Asia and the Pacific
According to United Nation Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, 1 in 4 men admitted raping at least one woman. Scary number isn’t it? Prior to this study, a survey was done at Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka with over 10,000 men participating. What’s even more terrifying was the study was originally a research on teenage pregnancy around Asia and the Pacific.
A disturbing findings on rape was a result of an interview on 24 pregnant teenagers, which 23 of them spoke of the stories about being raped. The worst number was found in Papua New Guinea with 61% of the men participating on the site admitted to at least one rape.
Why is Rape so Prevalent in These Area?
As horrific as it is to know that these things are so common in Asia and the Pacific, the only way to move forward is to get to the root of the problem. More often than not, sexual entitlement is the motivation of to this issue. It’s as easy and as simple as,“if you want it, you can have it” — so, if a woman’s raped, she would be blamed for putting herself at risk for being raped.
Next one is culture, where in these countries the culture is extremely patriarchal as well as accepting of violence use in different circumstances. Even the study found that about 4% of the surveyed men said they had participated in gang rape. In an effort of asserting their masculinity, to make them feel strong and powerful, comes a behaviour of demonstrating sexual success, dominance and control over women, as well as fighting with other men.
The bigger shock to why the perpetrator do this unthinkable misconduct isn’t sexual entitlement or culture. However, it’s a matter of insight — Yes, most of them were not completely aware that when they did can be considered as a crime. Based on interviews from UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, the participants admitted that they’ve made their significant other have sex even when their partner said that they didn’t want it. When they were asked what consequences did they received, were they arrested or jailed, the participants responded in shock with a question,
“You mean, I’ve just told you I’ve done something I could get arrested or jailed for?”
Aftermath Effects on the Victims
The clear and most obvious effects on the victims would be shame and low self-esteem, however it may lead to child marriage. As we’ve touched on the subject before, rape is one of the contributors to the problem as well as broaden the possibility of teenage pregnancy and domestic violence.
Another effect of rape that needs to be touched on is that the victim may have mental health problems. Some research suggest that almost all victims of rape cases develop some symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some stage. The sad thing is, even if the signs don’t show right away, it has been discovered that mothers with PTSD are much less able to look after their children, as well as the ability to keep a job.
What Needs to be Done?
First of all, raising the issue to bring awareness to the society would be job one. From realising and understanding, it would make more people sit up and think about violence perpetration in a different way. The case of sexual misconduct would not only be harmful to the victim individually, but also has an impact on the country’s economy and education.
With that being said, a political commitment in the country itself needs to be worked on. It may be done by developing a proper program of action for violence prevention, and actually implement it.