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To End Domestic Violence, We First Need To #EndDomesticSilence


Average read time: 6 minutes

A bold new initiative to get SA women speaking about the ‘unspeakable’

Joko panel

Silence is a real enemy in dealing with the appalling levels of domestic violence against women in SA, where one-in-five women is reported to be a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life. This is amongst the highest incidences anywhere in the world.

Experts in the field, and survivors of domestic violence, agree that the essential first step out of an abusive relationship is an honest conversation in a secure space, but very few women feel they can speak about their experiences of violence. Largely out of shame or fear, they remain silent.

#EndDomesticSilence, an important new initiative launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday by Joko, in partnership with POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse), is designed to widely spread awareness that this silence is damaging; and to support victims of violence in ending their silence with information, tools and the provision of more safe spaces.

Unilever SA CEO Luc-Olivier Marquet said #EndDomesticSilence represented a major commitment by the company: “At Unilever, we believe that it is possible and important to do business while doing good. That is why our brands have a clear purpose to help create a positive impact in our society. Joko is a uniquely South African tea, known for its strength, which is present in millions of homes. And tea and conversations go together.

So Joko can play a genuine role in promoting and supporting many more of these vital conversations by strong women that could begin their journeys out of violent relationships.”

Marquet announced that Joko would work in partnership with People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) in the initiative which includes R1 from every Joko 100s box sold as a donation to enable POWA to provide more safe spaces for survivors of violence. The iconic red Joko packaging is being changed to include a powerful purple #EndDomesticSilence message with essential information for women who want to talk about their abuse. Purple is the global colour for campaigns against domestic violence.

Speaking at the launch, Rosie Motene, author, survivor of domestic violence and a board member of POWA, said “women need to know that silence usually only makes things worse”. She believed this initiative would help women suffering from domestic violence to have easy access to what they need to start conversations about their suffering. She added that “it’s also about making sure that everyone knows how to listen to, and to take part in these conversations on this sensitive issue in ways that are positive and supportive”.

The Deputy Minister for Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, welcomed the #EndDomesticSilence initiative and said her department was behind it wholeheartedly: “There is an acknowledgement from government that the problem of domestic violence is deep and that different intervention strategies are required”. The deputy minister highlighted the department’s GBV Command Centre line on 0800 428 428 and also emphasized that “the importance of men and boys in these conversations should never be forgotten.”


Domestic Violence in South Africa

  • 1-in-5 women is a victim of domestic violence. This is significantly greater than global or continental averages and is amongst the worst in the world.
  • The actual number is believed to be far greater because so many South African women suffer their abuse in silence.
  • Half a million cases of domestic violence are reported annually, according to the SAPS Crime Report 2018.
  • POWA statistics show that women in South Africa stay in domestically violent relationships for an average of 10-15 years.
  • 4-in-10 divorced or separated South African women reported domestic violence in their relationship.
  • In South Africa, a woman is killed every 8 hours by her intimate partner.
  • Femicide (murder by a male partner) has become the leading cause of all female homicides at 56%. (South African Medical Research Council, Evert 8 Hours Research Brief and the Policy Brief on Gender Based Violence)

ABOUT #EndDomesticSilence

#EndDomesticSilence is an initiative by Unilever tea brand Joko (in partnership with POWA) to make a significant impact towards ending the silence surrounding domestic violence. Joko is famous as an iconic South African tea of strength, and tea and conversations go together. Joko’s social mission is to reduce domestic violence and the stigma that’s faced by many survivors. It aims to do this through the #EndDomesticSilence initiative by harnessing both the strength of South African women and the immense power of humble conversations in which women facing domestic violence are listened to, believed, and supported.

  • Joko is using newly branded red and purple packs to drive awareness around the need for women in abusive relationships to end their silence.
  • Joko is donating R1 from every Joko 100’s pack sold to POWA to create more safe spaces in which women can feel secure enough to end their silence.
  • A Joko website dedicated to the purpose, gives women essential information around domestic abuse and advises them on how to either get or to give help. Visit .
  • Joko is engaging with prominent SA women to champion #EndDomesticSilence in their own ways.


Unilever is a global company selling fast-moving consumer goods. Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace. Joko tea is an important and uniquely South African part of our brand portfolio.


With a rich heritage in tea, Joko has been inspiring and supporting South African women for over 100 years. Joko gives women the strength they need to get through the day - to get to work and back, to get their children ready for school then ready for bed, to get hearty meals on the table, to get themselves and their families where they need to be in life. By providing women with a good quality, strong cup of tea when they need it most, Joko gives women on-the-go the strength to keep moving.


POWA is a nonprofit women’s rights organization that has existed for 40 years. It aims at ensuring that the rights of women and girls are protected and promoted.


A safe and equal society intolerant of all forms of violence against women and girls in all their diversity, where they are treated with respect and dignity and their rights are promoted.


To be a feminist organization that provides professional services that comprise advocacy, training, psycho-social support, and sheltering to survivors of violence.

Tel: 011 642 4345



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