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Gender-based violence and the need for evidence-based primary prevention in South Africa

A Gevers
N Jama-Shai
Y Sikweyiya


Gender-based violence is a significant problem globally and in South Africa. The public and political discourse has been dominated by calls for increased penalties and convictions for perpetrators of various types of gender-based violence. However, these responses are unlikely to prevent such violence from occurring in the first place. Primary prevention strategies should address the underlying causes and drivers of gender-based violence in order to prevent violence and promote safer, respectful, happy relations between men and women. Through rigorous research, these factors have been identified and specific strategies based on these findings include: (a) building gender equality and challenging hegemonic masculinities; (b) challenging the widespread acceptance of violence; (c) improving conflict resolution and communication skills; (d) developing relationship-building skills; (e) reducing substance abuse; and (f) improved gun control. Each of these strategies and the evidence-base for the recommendations is discussed. Interventions that combine these strategies and are informed by research evidence during development are most likely to be effective in preventing gender-based violence on a large scale.

Keywords: gender equality, masculinities, primary prevention, gender-based violence, South Africa

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eISSN: 1728-774X