Portsmouth women stage protest in city centre demanding change in men's behaviour

PROTESTERS have taken to Portsmouth’s streets to demand a change in the way women are treated by men.

Following the high-profile death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard earlier this month, campaign groups have taken to the streets under the #ReclaimTheseStreets campaign.

Now, a branch of this group has been set up in Portsmouth, with a protest being held on Saturday, March 27 in Guildhall Square.

With countless women having stories to share of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation, it is hoped that raising awareness will bring about a real change in the way women are treated in the city.

The Reclaim These Streets protest in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, on March 27, 2021. Picture: Jon Neil Photography

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Organiser Maddy-Storm Hall, from Southsea, said more than 250 people attended yesterday’s protest.

‘It went really well, we’re happy with how things went down,’ she said.

‘Following Sarah Everard’s death I saw the movement start to spread, and decided to make a Portsmouth group. It’s important to keep spreading the message, to make this widespread.

‘Plenty of people want to fight for this cause – so many women in the city have been victims of this in some form or another, and we want to bring that to an end.’

Maddy-Storm said this past month has highlighted just how little some people know about what happens in their area.

She said: ‘People aren’t necessarily aware of what happens in the dark corners and alleyways of Portsmouth.

‘Violence against women affects everyone, and almost every woman has a story to tell.

‘These abusers could be your friends, your family or people from your work.

‘We all have a role in keeping an eye on holding one another responsible for our actions.’

Maddy-Storm and other protesters are aiming to create a legislative change that sees harsher punishments for abusers.

She said all Portsmouth demonstrations will be Covid secure, with social distancing enforced with masks, hand sanitiser and chalk markings.

‘We won’t stop fighting until we get justice, and real change,’ she added.

Sarah Everard’s body was found in a woodland near Ashford, Kent, on March 10, after she went missing in London on March 3.

On March 24, Metropolitan Police said a cause of death has still not been identified.

PC Wayne Couzens, a serving Met Police officer, has been charged with her kidnap and murder.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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