A ‘Take Back the Night’ march and vigil was held to protest against gender based violence
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Dozens of campaigners have marched through Penzance in a protest to end violence against women and girls.
Monday’s ‘Take Back the Night’ event was organised by Women’s Aid following a similar vigil in Newquay the previous week and is part of the global ’16 Days of Activism’ against gender-based violence.
Councillor Thalia Marrington, who put forward a motion to end violence against women and girls, said: “The main thing is tackling that culture where it’s accepted and normalised.
“We’re all desensitised to rapes happening or sexual assaults happening. I don’t want to tell my kids what to expect and what to worry about, we all need to step up really.
“This is a group of people who’ve come together and is just a space for people to just be and acknowledge what’s gone on, remember people and say enough is enough”.
The march started at Wherrytown skate park and ended at a chapel where speeches, poems and names were read out in remembrance of women and girls who have lost their lives to violence.
People of all genders and ages attending the march held lanterns, torches and phone lights as they walked across the seafront.
Thalia continued: “When you think of the world violence you think about on the street but a lot of women aren’t safe in their own homes and this often isn’t talked about.
“If people know that there are people they can talk to and organisations that can help. We’ve all got daughters, granddaughters or are young ourselves. It’s important for all of us to do this sort of thing”.
Fi was one of the attendees and spoke outside the chapel, sharing her poetry about her experiences and a song about gender-based abuse.
She is a survivor of domestic violence and said she attended the march to campaign for change.
“I’ve got two sons and two daughters and I’d like to think they’ll grow up in a world that’s improving… but it’s not. So we keep having to go out in the streets, we keep having to shout the message loud and clear, we keep having to lobby governments and policy makers.
“There hasn’t been any real reduction in the figures, the number of women who are being abused or assaulted”.
The names of all 123 women and girls who have died at the hands of a partner this year were read out at the vigil, followed by a two minute silence.
Fi continued: “We just have to keep the energy going and be insistent that things are done – and ideally next year the list will be fewer”.
Katrina was another attendee of the vigil and has been a victim of sexual violence.
She said her mum and sister have been survivors of domestic abuse and thinks it is important to attend events like these to prevent gender based violence from happening.
She said: “I want all women and all girls to be safe, for us not to keep campaigning and for all of us to live in the way that we want to live in freedom. It’s what we deserve”.
Also attending and organising the event in Penzance was CEO of West Cornwall’s Women’s Aid Lizzie Matthews.
She said: “We really want the community to pull together. This is not just something that women can come up with the solution for, we need everyone on board to challenge attitudes and challenge what people say.
“If people are being sexist or derogatory against women, we need people to say this isn’t right so it becomes culturally unacceptable to be derogatory against women. It all starts from these small acts of sexism and misogyny and they enable bigger acts of abuse to go on. We need the whole of our community to say this isn’t right.
“This happens everywhere, it happens in Cornwall, it happens in the whole of the UK and as a society we need a cultural change and need society to change it’s attitudes”.
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