Relationship between single and multiple perpetrator rape perpetration in South Africa: A comparison of risk factors in a population-based sample

BACKGROUND:Studies of rape of women seldom distinguish between men's participation in acts of single and multiple perpetrator rape. Multiple perpetrator rape (MPR) occurs globally with serious consequences for women. In South Africa it is a cultural practice with defined circumstances in which it commonly occurs. Prevention requires an understanding of whether it is a context specific intensification of single perpetrator rape, or a distinctly different practice of different men. This paper aims to address this question. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional household study with a multi-stage, randomly selected sample of 1686 men aged 18-49 who completed a questionnaire administered using an Audio-enhanced Personal Digital Assistant. We attempted to fit an ordered logistic regression model for factors associated with rape perpetration. RESULTS: 27.6% of men had raped and 8.8% had perpetrated multiple perpetrator rape (MPR). Thus 31.9% of men who had ever raped had done so with other perpetrators. An ordered regression model was fitted, showing that the same associated factors, albeit at higher prevalence, are associated with SPR and MPR. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple perpetrator rape appears as an intensified form of single perpetrator rape, rather than a different form of rape. Prevention approaches need to be mainstreamed among young men.