It’s that time of year again, when hundreds of Portsmouth men, women and children are taking to the streets to end domestic and sexual violence as the city gears up for its 3rd annual Reclaim the Night march on 23rd November, which kicks off at 7pm at the Spinnaker Tower.
This year’s march is going to be loud and proud, so get ready to shout!
We’re also asking marchers to wear something white or purple to show your solidarity with victims and survivors.
Local drumming group, Batala, will be leading the march, which will end with a rally in the Guildhall Square featuring local musicians El Morgan and Steph Arburrow.
Reclaim the Night is a symbolic march that brings together women, men and children to enable women to reclaim public space in safety and raise awareness about the high levels of violence against women in the UK and across the world.
Aurora works with victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence every day and we know the challenges they face just to come forward and seek help in the first place. Events like Reclaim the Night show on a local level that victims are not alone and there are people out there who can help.
It’s the one night a year in Portsmouth when women are guaranteed to be able to walk in safety through our streets.
Organisers say this year’s march is even more important due to funding cuts affecting local services.
In February 2011, the Safer Portsmouth Partnership launched a review of domestic abuse, stating it was “as a result of changes to funding regimes and service restructures forced by cuts to public service budgets”. In addition, local services for victims and survivors are reporting significant funding cuts, as well as increased competition for existing funding.
What can we do about this?
Well apart from getting your shout on at the march, Aurora are developing a report for all the services working with victim and survivors in the city. It will outline an alternative approach for Portsmouth to ensure the cuts – and the increased pressure on people in a recession – do not combine to turn the clock back for victims and survivors of violence and abuse, or for women more generally, in terms of combating discrimination and providing opportunity.
It’s never been more important to show our support as a city for victims and survivors of violence.
According to research commissioned by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership, domestic violence is the largest common motivator for violent crimes across Portsmouth, but only a low number of incidents currently result in a court case. In addition, levels of sexual violence in Portsmouth have risen since 2010/11.
Portsmouth has a great track record for supporting victim and survivors. Whilst it’s a very real challenge to the sector to make sure these vital services survive in the current economy, the reality is that we simply can’t allow the last ten years of progress to be reversed.
Our CEO, Shonagh says: “This year it’s even more important that local people take to the streets and Reclaim the Night – we need to shout out our support for victims and survivors and say a loud ‘No’ to perpetrators and the social attitudes and structures that help to create and protect them.”
Are you with us Pompey? We’re coming to take back the streets!