THEY marched through the streets of Portsmouth to show solidarity with women who have suffered from domestic abuse.
Hundreds of men and women gathered underneath the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays, last night to take part in the annual Reclaim The Night event.
The aim of the walk was to ‘reclaim’ public space in safety and raise awareness about the high levels of violence against women across the world.
Headed up for part of the way by drumming group Batala, the group marched from Gunwharf Quays, down Queen Street, past the top end of Commercial Road, past the law courts and then into Guildhall Square.
From there a rally was held, which featured speeches and live music.
Shonagh Dillon, is the chief executive officer of Aurora New Dawn, which provides support for people who have suffered from sexual or domestic abuse.
The voluntary organisation supported the march, part of the White Ribbon campaign.
Shonagh said: ‘Our route takes us past some areas of night-time economy, so our message can be heard by those who are out.
‘Alcohol can affect the level of crime, so that’s why we chose to walk through those areas.
‘This is why we also choose to march on a Friday or a Saturday, as that’s when those areas are busy.
‘We want women to be able to walk the streets of Portsmouth and feel safe.
‘Men also joined in the walk, as even though men are part of the problem, they can also be part of the cure.’
It is the fourth year the march has taken place in the city.
Mark Davison, 30, a revenue assistant for HMRC, of Pitcroft Road, North End, has taken part each year.
He said: ‘We walk because we are fighting against the issue together.
‘Although it’s mainly women, this is an issue that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.’
The first Reclaim the Night march took place in 1977 after police advised women not to go out at night following the murder of several women by Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper.
This angered women across the country, who then organised marches to show women should be able to walk the streets safely and should not take the blame for male violence.