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J Adolesc. 2019 Feb 13;72:32-36. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.02.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Perpetration of sexual aggression among adolescents in South Africa.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health; Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address: Caroline_Kuo@brown.edu.
2
Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa.
3
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, USA.
4
Rhode Island Hospital; Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, USA.
5
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa.
6
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town; Unit on Risk & Resilience in Mental Disorders, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa.
7
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In South Africa, one in three men have reported perpetrating rape. Adolescence presents a unique developmental period for primary prevention of violence. However, few studies characterize the epidemiology of sexual violence among adolescents in South Africa.

METHOD:

We evaluated rates of sexual violence behaviors using a baseline survey of N = 200 South African adolescents, age 13-15, recruited for participation in an intervention trial. The intervention focused on preventing onset of depression and sexual risk behavior among adolescents. This sample of adolescents were at elevated risk for depression and recruited using house-to-house methods in the community. Sexual perpetration behaviors were assessed using the Sexual Experiences Survey - Short Form Perpetration.

RESULTS:

Adolescents most frequently reported the use of coercion, incapacitation, force or threats of force to perpetrate oral sex (15%) followed by sexual touching (14%), anal sex (8%), and vaginal sex at (6%). Perpetration was more common among males compared to females with males perpetrating at a rate of 34.5% vs. 20.5% among females. Attempted perpetration was reported at alarming rates including: vaginal sex (8%), oral sex (8%), and anal sex (5%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Primary prevention of sexual violence perpetration, including gender- and developmentally-tailored approaches, are urgently needed for adolescents.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Intimate partner violence; Prevention; South Africa

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