Preventing Violence Against Women: International Study With Global Implications


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Education and legal penalties could reduce violence towards women. Image by anitapeppers

Violent Responses to Changing Gender Roles

In the 6 countries that the researchers surveyed, only Papua New Guinea criminalizes marital rape; rape that occurs within a marriage. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have specifications on what defines marital rape and based on those laws, they can criminalize it. In Cambodia, marital rape is not mentioned in the penal code, however non-marital rape is illegal. China has no laws for criminalizing marital rape.

The majority of the men who perpetrated rape did not experience any legal consequences. They also were more willing to answer questions about these topics more freely than it was to be expected. Alcohol, drug use and depression lead to violence and abuse with women, and the men seemed to be surprisingly open about talking to the researchers on this kind of topic.

The men suggested that the more pressure they were under, the more they would take their frustrations on a bottle, on drugs, or on women.

Sexual Violence and Rape

The amount of violence and types of violence which the men used can be linked to their past experiences, whether as victims or as observers. Men who participated in rape or sexual violence against women also admitted to the researchers that they had been abused by someone when they were younger. Some were sexually abused or witnessed gang rapes, which researchers say affects them well into adulthood.

Laws and Education: Reducing Sexual Violence

Enacting more laws against rape and sexual violence, and educating children to ensure that they learn violence is intolerable in the household or outside the home could be the key to reducing violence in coming generations. Although these countries in South Asia and the Pacific are experiencing a shift toward gender equality in the home, there is still a lot of work to do for women’s rights and safety.


Fulu, E. et al. Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? (2013). Quantitative Findings from the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. Accessed October 7, 2013.

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