Education program successful at reducing forced sex in South African adolescents


Southern Africa has some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world, with 20 percent of adolescent girls and boys reporting that they have been forced to have sex. In many cases, they are also the perpetrators: In one survey, 12 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls admitted they have forced someone else onto sex.

Given that forced sex experiences are linked to increased rates for HIV, depression, suicide, substance use, and early pregnancy–and it is a problem that spans the globe–it is an area ripe for public health interventions.

A new study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open found that a 12-hour educational program presented in sixth-grade classrooms in South Africa significantly reduced the chances that the students would force sex on someone else, an effect that held…

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