Nottinghamshire women are being urged to join a “Reclaim the Night” walk in Nottingham on Saturday, 1 November showing a united stance on male violence against women. Organisers are hoping that they will see at least a 50% increase on last year’s 200-strong turn-out.
Giving her support to the female-only march, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland said: “Last year’s Reclaim the Night march was the first in Nottingham for many years and it sent a really powerful message: violence is never acceptable. You don’t have to be a victim to join in. I hope that women from across the county will turn up simply to show their support.
The long-time supporter of victims of domestic violence and abuse added: “It’s an appalling but ingrained part of our culture that girls and women are told that if they don’t want to risk sexual violence or harassment they must stay off the streets at night.
“This is a totally unacceptable shift of responsibility. Whenever crime is committed, the responsibility lies very clearly with the perpetrator, not with the victim.
“My hope is that this message finally gets through loud and clear to the whole of our society. Women should not be made to feel at fault or that they have made themselves vulnerable to attack.”
Part of the international Reclaim the Night movement, Nottingham’s march organisers hope to welcome representatives from Nottinghamshire Police and criminal justice partners as well as other organisations and female members of the public from across the county. Marchers will head down Mansfield Road to the Old Market Square from their meeting point at the Forest Recreation Ground Pavilion.
Supporters, who are welcome to bring their children, are asked to meet at 6.30pm for the 7pm start. There will be a short rally with speakers at the Square, followed by hot soup and snacks at Nottingham’s Women’s Centre.
The event is being organised by Nottingham Feminist Action Network with support from Nottingham Women’s Centre, Women’s Aid Integrated Services and Nottinghamshire Rape Crisis Centre. Last year’s march was the first in Nottingham for many years, raising awareness through its concerted protest.
Giving her support, Melanie Jeffs, Manager of Nottingham Women’s Centre said “the march makes a clear statement that women in Nottingham want to feel safe in their city and will no longer tolerate a culture of victim-blaming and misogyny. It’s time we started telling men not to rape, instead of perpetuating the myth that women need to keep themselves safe”
In 2010, the National Union of Students’ Women’s campaign published a Hidden Marks report showing that one in seven women students had experienced serious physical or sexual assault at university. Many of those who didn’t report the crime stated that they didn’t think what had happened would be taken seriously, or that they were too ashamed and embarrassed to do so.
Nationally, historical surveys show that the vast majority of women don’t feel safe at night and many don’t even feel safe during the day. This is despite the fact that (according to Rape Crisis England and Wales) only 10% of rapes are committed by strangers.
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Posted on Thursday 23rd October 2014