Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation. Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders. An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. 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. Although statistics on the prevalence of violence vary, the scale is tremendous, the scope is vast, and the consequences for individuals, families, communities and countries are devastating.
According to a 2013 WHO report on violence against women, about 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner or non-partner violence in their lifetimes. The reports indicate that 45.6% of women 15 years and older in Africa have experienced intimate partner violence (physical and/or sexual) or non-partner sexual violence or both, the highest prevalence in the world. In South Africa, official police statistics show that during the period April-December 2016, there were 109 rapes reported each day in South Africa, which does not take into account the number of unreported cases that happen on a daily basis. Studies indicate that very few women report rape to the police: depending on the study either only one in nine or as few as one in twenty-five. Other studies provide a sense of the extent of men’s violence against women; a 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council indicated that 45% of men reported physically assaulting an intimate partner and 27% self-reported that they had raped a woman in their lifetime. A more recent and widely-reported 2016 Sonke/Wits study in Diepsloot, an informal settlement outside of Johannesburg, revealed that 56% of men reported using violence against a woman in the last twelve months.
Although significant progress has been made to respond to gender-based violence, in particular violence against women, much needs to be done to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. Despite the theoretical developments, gender-analysis in policies and programmes tends not to go beyond women and girls in practice. As a result, continuing to neglect dynamics of power and privilege, and how gender plays out in the lives of men and boys – to the detriment of women and girls, and men and boys themselves. This event will further unpack this specific area of interest.
In 2014, the first 5 Days of Violence Prevention meeting was hosted in Stockholm, Sweden, by MAN for Gender Equality, The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs and The Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres. MAN for Gender Equality Sweden and MenEngage Alliance representatives further agreed to organise the event jointly and as a prospect of networks strengthening and fostering collaboration, with potential to influence politicians and decision makers at regional and international levels. As a follow-up of that meeting – and with a focus on Africa – the second 5 Days Violence Prevention meeting will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2-5 October 2017.
The aim of the meeting is to bring together researchers, activists, policy makers and donors to discuss emerging issues in the gender-based violence field and strengthen the development of prevention strategies that can be adapted to different regional and national contexts. The meeting will also aim to strengthen the accountability aspect of gender-based violence prevention at all levels.
This event will produce a ‘Call for Action’ (aimed towards policy makers, civil society actors, private sectors, and UN agencies) and a ‘Comprehensive Report’ covering the deliberations, recommendations, concerns, promising practices and ways forward to advance the work on gender-based violence prevention – both in Africa and globally. The documentation will aim to identify, collect, package and disseminate the practical ways forward that emerge from the discourses during the conference, and possibly serve as a guiding document on translating emerging insights from the conference into practical actions, programmes and collective advocacy efforts in the ground.
The meeting focus areas will be aligned to the main theme of GBV prevention. These will include the following:
We expect to bring together 50-70 experts and practitioners from (but not limited to) civil society organisations, UN agencies, government ministries, faith-based organisations, academic institutions and multi-lateral agencies.