“We must have zero tolerance for all forms of violence”

“To end violence, we urgently need to employ the multiple strategies of evidence, action and accountability”, said Bafana Khumalo, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Co-Founder of Sonke Gender Justice, at the opening of the Five Days of Violence Prevention Conference in Johannesburg, which started today, Monday, 2nd October 2017.

The Five Days of Violence Prevention Conference is the second of its kind. The first was held in Sweden in 2014. The conference recognises that any attempt to end violence requires careful plans that are focused not only on reacting to the scourge of violence, but on prevention strategies too.

An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Gender-based violence (GBV) does not only affect women and girls, but increasingly affects men and boys as well, especially when it occurs in the context of conflict, and in communities and societies where boys and men are increasingly becoming violent towards one another.

In her opening address of the conference, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and former Deputy President of South Africa said: “Violence is unacceptable. We must not make any form of violence tolerable. We must have a zero tolerance for all forms of violence.”

Speaking on the link between violence and patriarchy, Lopa Banerjee, Civil Society Section Chief for UN Women said, “Gender-based violence is intrinsically linked to gender-stereotypes.”

The way forward: evidence, action and accountability

In order to respond to and prevent violence in all of its forms, evidence, action and accountability is required. We need evidence on the state of violence and its effects on communities. Many practitioners within the sector are involved in various forms of research on the subject of violence. It is vital that the outcomes of these studies inform programming.

Concerted efforts in prevention are necessary. Leadership is required to ensure appropriate policies, for example a National Strategic Plan to end gender-based violence in the case of South Africa, are put in place.  And these policies need to be budgeted for and implemented. Many of our governments have a poor record of implementation of policies that they have developed. This can be seen in reports that are shared in regional entitities and global multi-lateral platforms. An adequate response violence is very slow. Accountability is therefore key to ending violence. This requires that duty-bearers be held accountable for their inaction.

“This conference will serve as a platform from which an African resolution to hold states accountable in the prevention of, and responses to violence, will be developed and tracked over time”, said Itumeleng Komanyane, manager of Regional Programmes at Sonke Gender Justice and co-ordinator of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

The Five Days of Violence Prevention Conference continues until Friday, 6th October 2017 at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg. Tonight, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will deliver the inaugural Annual Sonke Lecture at 56 Main Street, Anglo Buildings, at the conference gala dinner which will be held from 19h00-22h00.

Members of the media are invited to attend.


  1. Bafana Khumalo: Co-Founder and Director of Strategic Partnerships, Sonke Gender Justice
    Tel: +27-11-339-3689
    Cell: +27-82-578-4479
    email: bafana@genderjustice.org.za
  1. Itumeleng Komanyane: Manager, Regional Programmes Unit, Sonke Gender Justice.
    Tel: +27-11-339-3589
    Cell: +27-84-202-2788
    email: itumeleng@genderjustice.org.za
  1. Khopotso Bodibe: Communications Associate, Sonke Gender Justice
    Tel: +27-339-3589
    Cell: +27-82-495-4158
    email: khopotso@genderjustice.org.za