Around 50 protesters attended the rally to raise awareness of violence against women; but to also highlight the importance of everyone feeling safe when outside at night.
The march, organised by the Worcester Community Trust, started at 6.30pm and went on until 8pm on Thursday. People of all ages came together to raise awareness about reclaiming the night.
Ruth Heywood, CEO at Worcester Community Trust, said: “We were absolutely thrilled with the turnout for the Reclaim the Night march. The local Worcestershire community demonstrated a real sense of solidarity and really did, reclaim the night.”
“The work we do with women suffering domestic violence is so important and events such as this really highlight the need for it.”
An activist and survivor who did not wish to be named, said: “I spent many years in an abusive relationship.
“I experienced mental and physical abuse and it’s been a long time since I felt safe. He chipped away until I had no sense of identity. A few months ago, I found the strength to leave that relationship because I realised that I had a right to feel safe.
“I went on the march because I wanted my voice to be heard. If just one woman gets the strength to leave after seeing me on the march, then I will be very happy.”
Half of all women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking during their lifetime, yet just 3.3 per cent of all cases of rape end in a conviction.
In Worcestershire alone police recorded 1,186 sexual offences in 2015/16, an increase of 27 per cent on the previous year’s figures.
These shocking statistics inspired Worcester Community Trust’s DAWN project to organise the march.
The project supports women who are, or have been, in an abusive relationship, and aims to give them the emotional aid they need to regain their self-confidence.
The women behind the project, funded through the South Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership, want three things to come from the march.
The first, to take the onus off women when assault causes are reported. They say victim blaming causes women to feel responsible for their own safety on the streets.
Secondly, to break the silence; 42 per cent of victims don’t tell anyone so activists want to normalise talking about these experiences to encourage other sufferers to come forward.
The third goal is to call on authorities to take action and work to tackle street harassment across the UK.
To find out more about the project, or to have a confidential and safe conversation, then visit the Worcester Community Trust website: https://www.worcestercommunitytrust.org.uk/wct-in-action/dawn/