Northampton is invited to march against sexual violence and harassment during Reclaim The Night 2021
The march will take place in the town centre next week, followed by a candlelit vigil hosted by the Mayor of Northampton to remember domestic abuse victims
The residents of Northampton are invited to take to the streets to raise their collective voices against sexual violence and harassment.
The Reclaim The Night march, hosted by the Northamptonshire Rape Crisis charity, will mark its ninth year of campaigning for an end to gender-based violence and will take place on Thursday, November 25 at 6pm.
CEO of Northamptonshire Rape Crisis, Dawn Thomas, said: "I have worked in the violence against women sector for over 16 years and there is still victim blaming and a lack of awareness of why women choose not to report and why they don't report sexual violence immediately.
"If we blame ourselves, we do not feel assured that other people won't blame us too for walking home late, for being too drunk or dressing in a certain way.
"If someone walks on their own, they should be safe to do so. Sexual violence and harassment is the fault of the perpetrator."
Reclaim the Night is a nationwide established march that was founded in the 1970s. The important purpose of the march is to challenge and change the culture and behaviours that lead to violence on the street and in the home and demonstrate the belief that it is community-wide responsibility to make this country a safe place.
Dawn continued: "We encourage men and boys to get involved - 11 percent of our clients are men and boys and, nationally, 11 percent of men and boys report sexual violence to the police."
The first Northampton march took place in 2013, followed by three more in four consecutive years. The 2016 march saw hundreds of people marching through Northampton town centre in memory of 20-year-old India Chipchase, who was raped and murdered by a 52-year-old man she met outside a Northampton nightclub that year.
Those wanting to take part in the 'Reclaim The Night' march this year are invited to gather their banners, drums, megaphones, placards and songs then head over to the Co-Op on the corner of Wellingborough Road and Barry Road at 6pm on Thursday, November 25.
From there, residents will march to Northampton town centre at 6.15pm and join the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Rufia Ashraf in a 7pm candlelit vigil at All Saints Church to acknowledge those who have suffered or died at the hands of domestic abuse.
Mayor Rufia Ashraf, speaking to The Chronicle & Echo about the candlelit vigil last month, said: "As a councillor, an ex-social worker and a trustee of the Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service, I have seen and heard of the catastrophic impact of domestic abuse first hand.
"I want to make a public statement to show support to those who are suffering and to honour and remember those who have lost their lives.
"We hope to shine a light on the problems some are facing and to let people know there is help available to them.”
Those unable to join the march in person can still participate by placing a candle in their window to remember all of those impacted by sexual violence.
Reclaim the Night takes place across the world each year during 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which runs each year from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
This year, Northamptonshire Rape Crisis is marking 35 years of providing free counselling and advocacy support across Northamptonshire to those impacted by rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.