The Herald had a story on Tuesday about a UN survey of men in nine areas in Asia/Oceania asking about rape and violence against women. The story is pretty good, and actually has links to the articles in the medical journal Lancet.
Because of the wide publicity and the large scale of the survey I think it’s worth nailing down some of the details to make it harder to dismiss.
First, this was a large, well-conducted probability sample from nine areas:
The survey was not designed to be representative of all of Asia, or even of whole countries (other than Cambodia), but it was designed to be representative of the sampled areas. The response rates were high: above 80% in seven of the regions, with the lowest response rate being 58%.
The definition of rape only included acts that would be uncontroversially rape in New Zealand: a man self-reporting forced sex with someone who he knew did not want it or who he thought was too drunk or drugged to be able to say whether it was wanted.
A smaller proportion, 2-4%, of men admitted to having raped a man or boy, and these were substantially more likely than the rest to have also raped a woman.
In some of the areas, women were also asked if they had experienced rape, and the proportions were broadly similar to the proportions of men who admitted to perpetrating rape.
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »