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'Women are never to blame for abuse': Hundreds set for march against sexual violence

PUBLISHED: 19:01 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:55 09 November 2019

Protestors at the Reclaim the Night march in Colchester Picture: MEGAN SALIU

Protestors at the Reclaim the Night march in Colchester Picture: MEGAN SALIU

MEGAN SALIU

Hundreds of demonstrators are expected to fill Colchester with light and noise in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.

Organisers, the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA), are hoping to see even more people than the 200 that attended in 2018 Picture: MEGAN SALIUOrganisers, the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA), are hoping to see even more people than the 200 that attended in 2018 Picture: MEGAN SALIU

The first Colchester Reclaim the Night march was organised by Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA) in 2018, when almost 200 men and women took to the streets, armed with whistles and placards, making the statement that women have the right to feel safe on the streets after dark.

It will return to Colchester High Street on November 16, with the charity determined to change minds and make sure no woman is blamed for being attacked.

March organiser and CARA manager, Sarah Clementson, said: "CARA wants this march to make people recognise that women and girls have the right to live without the reality or the fear of sexual violence.

"It is our collective responsibility as a society to make this happen.

The demonstration marched down Colchster's High Street, calling for an end to violence against women Picture: MEGAN SALIUThe demonstration marched down Colchster's High Street, calling for an end to violence against women Picture: MEGAN SALIU

"Through changes in the criminal justice process and by changing attitudes and making sure that women are never blamed for rape and male violence."

Less than three weeks ago a woman was raped in Colchester's Trinity Square, just metres from the town's library and one of its busiest shopping quarters.

A 28-year-old man from Chelmsford was arrested released under investigation by Essex Police.

"The march is about highlighting the reality of sexual violence and saying loud and clear that it has a huge impact on the lives of women and girls," added Ms Clementson.

Amond the placards on display last year was the message 'safety is a human right' Picture: MEGAN SALIUAmond the placards on display last year was the message 'safety is a human right' Picture: MEGAN SALIU

"It's about giving the clear message that sexual violence is never acceptable.

"It's about reclaiming public spaces for women and girls - after dark and during the day, rejecting victim blaming and creating the expectation that women and girls should have as much freedom in the way they behave as men and boys."

The march will be led by survivors of sexual violence as part of a self-defining women-only block, followed by a mixed block open to everyone.

Roads will be closed as the route moves through Queen Street, St John's Walk, Head Street and High Street before returning to Firstsite.

Protestors at the Reclaim the Night march in Colchester Picture: MEGAN SALIUProtestors at the Reclaim the Night march in Colchester Picture: MEGAN SALIU

Those wishing to join the march are asked to arrive at Firstsite in East Hill at 5.45pm on November 16.

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