New York

03 June 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at Launch of Video Campaign on Ending Sexual Violence through Gender Equality

I am here to declare with all of you: it is time to act.

In just the last two weeks, we have seen despicable attacks against women and girls around the world – from Nigeria to Pakistan and from California to India. 

I was especially appalled by the brutal rape and gruesome murder of two teenaged women in India who had ventured out because they did not have access to a toilet. 

Violence against women is a peace and security issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a development issue. 

We must respond on all fronts and achieve full equality for all women.

I am doing everything possible to reach this urgent goal.

I am proud to have launched a Men’s Leaders Network which reflects this campaign’s approach of: “he for she”. Our network brings together top government officials, leading artists, business executives and other men who say no to violence, harassment, abuse, rape and impunity.

We say no to the dismissive, destructive attitude of, “Boys will be boys.”

Together, we can empower more people to understand that violence against women degrades us all.

One of my personal heroes in the fight to end sexual violence is Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Mukwege was nearly killed for helping survivors of sexual violence – but he keeps on treating them.

Dr. Mukwege says sexual violence continues because of indifference, as if the crimes happen to someone else.  “But really,” he says, “it happened to one of us. We all belong to the same family of human society.”

We are one human family.

I stand here with the head of UN Women and my Special Representative to demonstrate that the United Nations is mobilized.

I applaud the United Kingdom for organizing this event – as well as next week’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London.

I hope to hear more and louder outcries against sexual violence. I will be raising my voice – and I count on all of you to join our chorus demanding action around the world.

Thank you for your commitment.