Scores of campaigners march through Portsmouth against gender abuse and violence

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WE deserve to be able walk safely through the streets at night.

That was the call from campaigners who marched through Portsmouth tonight to raise awareness that violence and abuse against men and women must end.

From left, David Ayton, 20, Lucie Cook, 23, and Orion Brooks, 23, at the 2016 Reclaim the Night march in Portsmouth tonight Picture: Miles O'Leary

From left, David Ayton, 20, Lucie Cook, 23, and Orion Brooks, 23, at the 2016 Reclaim the Night march in Portsmouth tonight Picture: Miles O'Leary

More than 100 protestors made their way from outside Portsmouth Guildhall to the university and back as part of the Reclaim the Night rally.

University students David Ayton, 20, Lucie Cook, 23, and Orion Brooks, 23, made a stand.

David said: ‘Lots of women get abuse, unfortunately in lots of different ways, from lower level to high level abuse.

‘I have been involved with women who had bad experiences in past relationships. So this is about showing solidarity.

In Portsmouth, drastic cuts have been made to the domestic violence service. At the moment, women are in a vulnerable position.

Rosy Bremer

‘It’s a cause we really need to get behind.’

Lucie said: ‘There is a massive issue of victim blaming.

‘When someone is in a nightclub and they have been drinking alcohol, it doesn’t mean a guy is allowed to touch them and make them their own.’

Rosy Bremer, 44, of Fratton, marched with her five-year-old daughter Sakina, to set a good example.

Rosy said she was concerned by Portsmouth City Council’s decision to make cuts to the domestic violence support unit.

The Tory administration is to take £130,000 out of the service, and hopes Hampshire police and crime commissioner candidate Michael Lane will find the money, despite Mr Lane saying he can’t promise to deliver.

Rosy said: ‘I feel women suffer from a disproportionate level of sexual violence.

‘In Portsmouth, drastic cuts have been made to the domestic violence service.

‘At the moment, women are in a vulnerable position.’

The group shouted “hey, ho, sexual violence has got to go”, “sisters unite, reclaim the night” and “whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no” to drive home the message.

Rape alarms were set off around the university campus.

The march culminated with a photo call on the steps of the Guildhall. Fire engines turned up to show their support.

Students’ Union women’s officer, Sian Brooke, who organised the march, said: ‘It’s important to raise awareness that sexual assault and domestic violence does happen.

‘We need to declare these spaces safe again.’

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