Locals from a Melbourne suburb have marched "to reclaim our Merri Creek" on Sunday after an accused rapist allegedly choked and nearly drowned a woman as she jogged in a park on Tuesday evening.
The accused rapist, Joel Russo, 25, faces a string of charges including 10 of rape, one of attempted rape and three of sexual assault over the attack along Merri Creek at Coburg.
Police said his alleged victim survived the attack and went to a nearby food outlet to raise the alarm.
Approximately 400 to 500 people gathered at Mayer park on Sunday and listened to speeches from women before walking up along the trail to show their solidarity with all those who have survived assaults.
The rally was organised by a local group of women that gather to run together along the waterway and wanted to take a stand after the assault.
"We're a group of local runners and we just enjoy running in our local community. When we heard about the assault we were obviously very upset and shocked," rally spokeswoman Olivia Greenwell said.
"I am conscious of what's happened around this area but I think there's been attacks like this all over Melbourne and Australia. There is a a big conversation that we need to be having about what causes men's violence against women."
The assault led the local community to wonder about their safety around the creek and encouraged the running group to organise the rally to show it would not prevent them from actively enjoying their local area, Ms Greenwell told AAP.
"We've seen the local community come together in organising this event and we're aware of some conversations and actions that are continuing to happen to see how we can make our community safer for everyone."
The accused perpetrator of the attack asked to not be brought into Melbourne Magistrates Court for his filing hearing on Thursday, where his lawyer said the 25-year-old had bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, an acquired brain injury and intellectual disability.
His lawyer did not apply for bail and Russo was remanded to reappear for a committal mention via video link on March 12.
Australian Associated Press