UN study in Asia and the Pacific reports high levels of violence against women and girls

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UN study in Asia and the Pacific reports high levels of violence against women and girls

16 September 2013

A new study focusing on men’s use of violence against women found that more than half of the 10 000 men interviewed reported using physical or sexual violence against a female partner. Nearly a quarter of the men interviewed reported perpetrating rape against a woman or girl.

The UN multi-country study entitled Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it? was launched in Bangkok, Thailand on 10 September 2013. 

Conducted in six countries in Asia and the Pacific—Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea—the study explores the prevalence of men’s use of violence against women in surveyed sites, and shows what factors make men more or less likely to use violence. The report also makes important recommendations to prevent violence against women.

“Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men’s use of violence found across the study sites,” said James Lang, Programme Coordinator, Partners for Prevention. “It is also achievable because the findings indicate that the majority of factors associated with men’s use of violence can be changed,” he added.   

Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men’s use of violence found across the study sites. It is also achievable because the findings indicate that the majority of factors associated with men’s use of violence can be changed.

James Lang, Programme Coordinator, Partners for Prevention

The report highlights that, among respondents who admitted using violence against women, many began such violence perpetration at early ages. “We need to start working with younger boys and girls than we have in the past,” said Emma Fulu, Research Specialist for Partners for Prevention. “We also need laws and policies that clearly express that violence against women is never acceptable,” added Ms Fulu.

Findings of the study provide important evidence and guidance for efforts to eliminate gender inequalities and gender-based violence and increase the capacity of women and girls to protect themselves from HIV.

The World Health Organization reports that forced sex, violence and/or fear of violence can limit the possibility of women to negotiate safe sex and to protect themselves from HIV transmission. Research from the Asia Pacific region suggests that violence is a risk factor for HIV where women living with HIV are more likely to report a history of intimate partner violence than women who are not.

“These findings provide significant insights to help better adapt programmes and initiatives in Asia and the Pacific to reduce gender-based violence and help increase the protection of women and girls from HIV infection,” said Steven Kraus, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific.

The study was conducted by Partners for Prevention, a UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and UN Volunteers regional joint programme. The study asked men about their use and experiences of violence, attitudes and practices, childhood, sexuality, family life and health.