Streamlining: Understanding gang rape in South Africa
MPR – that is, coerced sex in which two or more men sexually penetrate a victim – is highly prevalent in South Africa, as confirmed by different data sources. The first quantitative assessment of this came from the dataset of the Stepping Stones randomised controlled trial (Jewkes, Nduna et al., 2006), which recruited 1,370 men aged between 15 and 26 from rural schools in the Eastern Cape Province in 2002. Among these men, 14 per cent disclosed perpetration of MPR in a face-to-face interview at the time of enrolment (Jewkes, Dunkle et al., 2006). They were not a randomly selected sample, and the studies of two population-based samples report slightly lower prevalence estimates. In 2008 a randomly selected sample of adult men aged between 18 and 49 from 1,737 households in three districts in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal Province
were interviewed. In this study, audio-enhanced personal digital assistants (APDAs) were used to enable self-completion by the research participants. In all, 9 per cent disclosed having perpetrated MPR with sexual penetration during the episode. Men were also asked if they had been involved in MPR but had not had sex (the question was phrased to ask whether they had ‘been in a situation with other men where they forced a woman into sex but [he himself] did not actually have sex with her’).When the sub-group of men responding affirmatively to this question were added to those actually having sex as part of such a rape, a total of one in five adult men had been involved in some capacity in a MPR (Jewkes et al., 2011). A similar population prevalence estimate was derived from a study in the Gauteng province of South Africa with a randomly selected sample of men from 487 households aged 18 and over, among whom 7 per cent disclosed having perpetrated MPR (Machisa et al., 2011).