#Walk with Women
- By Jenny Beake
- 05 October 2021
- King’s Lynn
An early evening march gathered outside St Nicholas Chapel where the Pandora Project's exhibition is taking place.
The poignant timing of the Pandora Project's exhibition showing imagery of life after domestic abuse, captured by Fakenham-based artist Keith Osborn was noted by many who attended the event at St Nicholas church in King’s Lynn..
Its opening launch has coincided with the sentencing of Sarah Everard's murderer, bringing the realities of violence against women and girls to the forefront of national conscience.
Councillor Jo Rust led an early evening march in solidarity with the #walkwithwomen and #reclaimthesestreets campaigns, who gathered outside St Nicholas Chapel in Lynn where the exhibition is taking place.
The group of 10 men and women and children held placards saying 'for Sarah Everard and everyone, finish the walk' and 'all we are left with is dead women and rage.'
Jo Rust is an advocate for leading peaceful protests often being the figurehead for them in King’s Lynn.
She was involved in the QEH petition in King’s Lynn town centre and at Westminster and also #Stand up to racism alongside secretary Norma King.
Though it is with regret that a member of the Norfolk police force is under investigation for the misogynistic WhatsApp group messages that have been unearthed during the murder investigation of Sarah Everard, positive moves are being made by West Norfolk police to ensure the safety of women and girls is being prioritised.
A Street Safe database to help West Norfolk women feel more protected has been devised.
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is often a phrase heard if a woman is attacked late at night if she is walking home.
The blame on the victim is misplaced when many women may have to walk from a bus or train station late at night returning from work.
Whatever the reason might be, as seen in the case of Sarah Everard who was walking home, in the dark and 9pm before she was abducted and murdered, it is the perpetrator at fault.
Positive change is happening in relation to making areas safer for girls and women who have every right to walk freely and without fear, whatever the time of day.
The Lynn-based Pandora Project's September campaign Paint it Purple highlights awareness about violence against women and their poll suggests that still a lot of women do not feel safe.
A database has been introduced to specifically tackle safety issues for women and girls.
Detective Superintendent Andy Coller, head of safeguarding, said: “In Norfolk, we are committed to putting victims at the heart of what we do and improving services.
"Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority area for the force and we are already working on improved training for officers around areas such as high-quality investigations, addressing perpetrator behaviour and education on new offences such as coercive control.
“We also continue to work alongside our partner agencies to understand areas in the county where people may not feel safe.
"A recent example of this is the pilot launch of the StreetSafe online database. This was created by the Home Office and the Police Digital Service (Police.uk) and enables women and girls to anonymously report areas they feel are unsafe and why.
“This information will be used by policing in partnership with other stakeholders to deliver improved wellbeing and safety for communities, especially for women and girls.”
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