Femicide, domestic violence, sexual harassment and the sexual assault of both women and children are just some of the crimes that came under the spotlight at the inaugural Gender Summit taking place in George in the Southern Cape.

Delegates heard how alcohol, drug abuse and environmental design, such as growing informal settlements, continue to have a direct impact on gender-based violence.

Cheryl Britz from the Knysna Community Policing Forum says that while gender-based violence is highlighted during 16 days of activism, men are also being abused.

“We need to create this awareness and to also make those men who are abused feel safe to come forward and to report it in a safe environment. I think often men are ashamed to report it and they feel they might receive a backlash if they come and step forward. So, we want to say to men out there, we know it’s happening and want them to feel safe and to come in and report abuse.”