New Internationalist

The Facts

Issue 158

new internationalist
issue 158 - April 1986

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The facts on this page do not make pleasant reading - for women or men. Of course there are people who manage to experience love and pleasure in their sexual relationship. But these figures imply that such people are in the minority. In the developing world, the fear of an unwanted pregnancy hangs over large numbers of couples, while the pain and terror of sex for the circumcised and infibulated virgin or the child bride can barely be imagined. And in every country each and every heterosexual union takes place under the oppressive shadows of pornography, incest and rape.

Sex and fear

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Percentage of married women currently not using modern contraception who do not want any more children.

Pakistan

22.1%

Peru

21.4%

Mexico

18.7%

Nepal

18.0%

Egypt

17.9%

Colombia

17.5%

Ecuador

17.2%

Thailand

16.4%

Jamaica

13.3%

Malaysia

12.2%

Morocco

10.8%

North Yemen

10.7%

Indonesia

9.3%

Kenya

8.2%

Sudan

7.6%

Nigeria

1.9%


Young love

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Teen brides
Percentage of teenage women who are married1

East Asia

2%

Latin America
17%
SE Asia
20%
Middle East
34%
Africa
55%
India (subcontinent)
58%
England and Wales
4%
Australia
2%

Premarital sex
Percentage of teenagers who had sex before marriage4

Boys

Girls
Nigeria
68%
43%
Australia
58%
47%
Israel
42%
11%
Japan
15%
7%
     
The percentage of couples having pre-marital
sex in the UK is increasing5

Boys

Girls
1965
34%
17%
1978
69%
55%

Clitoridectomy and infibulation

  • At least 74 million young girls in the world have had their clitorides removed, the majority in Africa.

  • Approximately 70% of women in N Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia have been infibulated. (Infibulation is the removal of the internal and external vaginal lips and the sewing shut of the vagina, leaving just a tiny opening for urine and menstrual blood. All infibulated women have their clitoris removed too.)

  • Deaths due to infibulation (sepsis, childbirth complications etc) in two tribes in Djibouti are estimated at 6% a year.

Change your partners

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At current rates, 50% of US marriages, 33% of Australian and British marriages, and 40% of Canadian marriages will end in divorce.

Divorce
Percentage of women who have ever been married and who are now divorced or separated from their husbands.

Pakistan

4.0%

Mexico

11.3%

Bangladesh

11.6%

Thailand

12.3%

Peru

14.4%

Colombia

19.6%

Australia

11.9%

England & Wales

14.7%

Indonesia

32.9%

Dominican Republic

40.5%

Adultery
Percentage of married people who have been unfaithful to their spouse

Husbands

Wives

US (1978)

34%

20%

US (1970)

40%

31%

US (1978)

72%

UK (1979)

25%

Italy (1980)

41%

14%

Denmark (1980)

13%

Venereal disease

  • There were 2,700,000 diagnosed cases of gonorrhea in the US in 1974.

  • Between 1960 and 1980 there was a five-fold increase in teenage cases of gonorrhea in the US.

  • 33% of teenagers in one Nigerian study had gonorrhea compared to 2% of the general population.

Sexploitation

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Prostitution

BIG BUSINESS

  • Pimping and procuring is the third most profitable business in France, earning $7 billion a year.

  • 10,000 prostitutes work in Calcutta, India.

  • 40,000 prostitutes work in Dakar, Senegal.

  • 100,000 prostitutes work in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

WHO PROFITS?

In most countreis the majority of prostitutes operate from brothels or with the 'protection' of a pimp. Pimps and brothel owners keep the lion's share of what a prostitute earns.

  • 80%-95% of prostitutes in Hamburg, West Germany, have pimps.

  • 80% of prostitutes in San Francisco, US, have pimps.

 

DOUBLE STANDARDS

Where prostitution is illegal or restricted, it is the prostitute rather than her customer who is prosecuted. These figures are for one year in San Francisco, US.

Prostitutes

Customers

Arrested

2,938

325

Imprisoned

419

0

 

Pornography

  • 18 million American men together spend $500 million a year on a range of 165 pornographic magazines.

  • US porn films gross $1 million a day.

  • The pornography industry earns a profit of $4 billion a year in the US alone.

  • Porn videos outsell ordinary videos by 3 to 1 in the US.

Rape profile

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Definition: Rape is penetration of the penis into the vagina of a woman against her will. Penetration of the anus or mouth of a woman or man against their will is termed 'indecent assault', as are most other sex crimes.

The main statistics below are from a sample of 1,236 London women. They were 62% of a random sample of 2,000 approached by the researchers.

 

1 in 6 women have been raped
This does not include attempted rape or assault, or attacks on children under 16. It does include married women raped by their husbands. Figures extrapolated from police reports give a figure of 1 in 4 for US women.

 

1 in 12 rapes are reported to the police
This compares with 1 in 4 of women who seek counselling from UK Rape Crisis Centres. In the US as a whole 51% of reported rapists are caught; 76% of those are prosecuted; and 47% of that 76% are acquitted.

 

3 in 4 attackers are known to the victim
For rapes reported to police the figure is much lower, at around 1 in 2. Women are more likely to report a stranger to the police.

 

1 in 20 rapes are gang rapes
For rapes reported to the police, the figure is much higher: 30% in Washington, 40% in the UK generally, 43% in Philadelphia, 47% in Malaysia and 50% in Toronto. Women are more likely to report gang rapes to the police.

 

1 in 2 rapes involve violence in addition to the rape
For rapes reported to the police the figure is nearer 4 in 5, since women are more likely to report violent rapes.

 

1 in 2 occur in the home of the rapist or victim
This proportion is similar for rapes reported to the police in Memphis and Philadelphia in the US. The figure is likely to reflect women's tendency to avoid dangerous situations outside the home.

 

The rapist who pays the rent

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  • Over 1 million children in the UK will be sexually assaulted or raped by age 15, many by members of their own family.

  • 1 in 4 US children will be raped or sexually assaulted by a trusted adult by age 15.

  • 1 in 10 married women in the UK has been forced, with violence, to have sex with her husband.

1 World Fertility Survey.
2 Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, UK.
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 981 Census.
4 Holmann, A.D. 'Contraception in Adolescence', WHO Bulletin.
5 Bancroft, J.. Human Sexuality and its Problems'. Churchill Livingstone. 1983.
6 Hosken. F.P., Female Sexual Mutilations: the facts and proposals for action', Women's International Network News, 1980.
7 Thiam, A Women's Fight for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation', Int. Social Science Jornal, Vol. 18
8 Statistics Canada, 1983.
9 Hite S.. The Hite Report on Male Sexuality', MacDonald, 1978.
10 WHO Study Group an Youth. collected papers, 1984.
11 Barry, K.. 'Female Sexual Slavery. New York University Press. 1979.
12 Bandhopadhyaya, B.. 'A Woman's Last Resort'. Manushi. NO.23, 1984.
13 Thista. K., 'Providence and Prostitution' Change UK. 1980
14 Abuse of Women in the Media', Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia. 1982.
15 Hall. RE.. 'Ask Any Woman'. Falling Wall Press. 1985
16 Brownmiller, S. Against Our Will'. Penguin Books. 1976.
17 Consumers Association of Penang. Utusan Konsumer Report, 1983.
18 Child Assault Prevention Programme. 'Preventing Child Assault', MacDonald and Evans, 1985.
19 El Saadawi, N. The Hidden Face of Eve. Zed Press. 1980.

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