What is the point of Reclaim the Night?
- We march to demand an end to sexual assault, rape, and all forms of men’s violence and harassment against women and girls.
- We march to demand an end to the victim-blaming of women who experience sexual assault, rape, violence and harassment
- We march to reclaim our streets and take back our spaces and to say that we have a right to access them without any fear
- A mass of women pounding the streets together sends a message to our leaders that citizens, residents and voters care about women’s safety.
- Walking in solidarity and safety with your noisy sisters is good for your spirits. Regain your energy by sticking it to the patriarchy!
Why is it a women-only march?
On the streets, women and girls experience misogynistic, gender-based abuse, harassment and unwanted attention from men on a daily basis. 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence. These threats make women feel unsafe. When walking with a man at our side – friend, family member or partner – we rarely receive the comments, unwanted touching and looks up and down our bodies that are common when we walk alone, or with other women. So we are reclaiming our right to be free from these daily abuses, whether or not there is a man with us.
For all women, and for those of us who have experienced assault and abuse, having a women-only march makes the event empowering and safe, and makes a strong statement to those who see the march.
Women continue to be blamed for men’s violence against them. In countless public “safety” campaigns and across the mainstream media, we are told that avoiding harassment, rape and violence is women’s responsibility: we should not get too drunk, we should not send ‘mixed messages,’ we should not walk home alone in case we are attacked by the stranger rapist lurking in the shadows. A third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped. Our society overwhelmingly continues to ask women to change our behavior instead of challenging those men who choose to commit harassment, rape, and sexual assault against women. Reclaim the Night marches are about women resisting this victim-blaming narrative and claiming our right to use public space without fear. For over 30 years broad groups of women have taken to the streets because women should not be blamed or restricted because of men’s violence.
The fight against gender-based violence is one which people of all genders must take part in. While Nottingham’s women march through the streets, men will be holding a vigil in the City Centre, and play a supporting role at the Reclaim Rally.
What is the history of Reclaim the Night?
Reclaim The Night marches started in the UK in 1977, when torchlit processions were held in Leeds, York, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton and London. In Leeds, women were particularly angered by the response to serial murders by Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed by the press as the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, who sexually attacked and murdered thirteen women across Yorkshire between 1975 and 1980. The police response to these murders seemed slow and the response was to tell women not to go out at night, effectively putting them under curfew.
Over the years the marches have evolved to focus on rape, sexual assault and male violence against women generally, giving women one night when they could feel safe to walk the streets of their own towns and cities, and resisting the culture of victim-blaming people who are subjected to gender-based violence, sexual assault, harassment and rape.
How can I get involved?
If you want to help make RTN 2017 happen by volunteering to help coordinate, steward or contribute to the march, email Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to find out about RTN marches around the country, check out the Sister Marches: http://www.reclaimthenight.co.uk/sister.html