An international survey on domestic violence that interviewed more than 2,000 Chinese found that half of male respondents confessed they have physically or sexually abused their wives or girlfriends.
A student made a balloon out of a condom at an AIDS-prevention event at the College of Tourism under Changchun University.[Photo/China Daily]
James Lang, program coordinator of Partners for Prevention, a regional joint program by four United Nations agencies including the UN Population Fund, said "some preliminary findings are shocking".
The survey showed that one in two men reported using physical or sexual violence against an intimate partner, one in four reported having raped a woman and one in 25 admitted to having participated in gang rape.
"Violence is a complex phenomenon. Much of the research has been focused on women, but when we try to come up with solutions to reduce violence, we have to include men. That's the whole motivation behind the study," he said.
Lang made the remarks at a UN symposium on Gender-based Violence and Research on Thursday in Beijing.
The findings are part of a multi-country comparison study that has interviewed more than 10,000 men and 2,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 from six Asia-Pacific countries - Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.
When asked about why the six countries were selected, Lang said the comparison studies try to reflect geographic and cultural diversity, but the willingness of regional governments for data collection work on the sensitive topic is another reason.
He added that the study will be completed and published in July.
The gender-based violence study in China released on Thursday showed that 52 percent of around 800 male respondents have committed an act of domestic violence against their partners.
The survey randomly interviewed about 1,000 men and 1,100 women in a county in South China, according to Wang Xiangxian, an associate professor of sociology from Tianjin Normal University who participated in the research.
The county was not identified to protect the confidentiality of participating respondents, she said, adding that about 90 percent of the interviewees were married or divorced when the interview was conducted in 2011.
The domestic survey revealed that about one-fifth of male respondents said they had forced their partners to have sex, Wang said.
The study in China also showed that women are more at risk of rape from a partner than a non-partner. Among women who had been raped, three in five had been raped by a partner.
Domestic violence has a serious impact on women's physical, mental and reproductive health, it said. For instance, among women who had been physically abused by their partners, 40 percent had been injured, resulting in their taking leave from work or having to stay in bed.