Walk shone a light on issue we must all care about

Cheryl, left, with bride and groom Kelly and James, centre, and her husband James. Picture: Georgia Stanhope

CHERYL GIBBS: Mother Nature wasn’t going to rain on my friend’s parade

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It can take real courage to stand up and say something is wrong, especially if you still carry with you the memories of an ordeal that no-one should ever have to go through.

But all those who joined the Reclaim the Night march were making sure that their voices would be heard, no matter how hard or painful they may have found it.

You don’t have to know what it feels like to be abused by someone who is supposed to love and care for you to realise that domestic violence is wrong.

There is never any excuse for it – it really is as simple as that.

No-one should have to suffer the tyranny of verbal or physical abuse. For some victims it must feel like a never-ending nightmare.

Yet many women are still living under the dark cloud of violence in the home and that’s something we should all care about and want to change.

We’re sure many will have seen the hundreds of people walking from the Spinnaker Tower to Guildhall Square last night.

Followed up by a rally, it was an effective way to spread the message and kick-start 16 days of action, calling for an end to violence against women.

Portsmouth’s White Ribbon group chairwoman, Kirsty Mellor, really has done an outstanding job in raising awareness about this issue.

She knows what it feels like to live in fear because she’s been through an abusive relationship herself.

Fortunately, she’s one of the survivors and now does all she can to help others realise that there is hope out there for them.

It might require a leap of faith or the very scary prospect of leaving all that you know and love behind. But everyone deserves to know what it’s like to feel safe.

To all those who took part in last night’s events we say thank you. By braving the cold and giving up your time you have helped shine a spotlight on all that the White Ribbon campaign is trying to achieve.

We also hope that those living with domestic violence take strength from knowing there are people who are prepared to stand by your side and say it’s wrong.