[…]

Both Bristol and Manchester are hosting Reclaim The Night marches next month.

Reclaim the Night NORTH will take place on Saturday 21st February and kicks off at 19.30 from the University of Manchester Students Union on Oxford Road:

Women are told to stay at home, told not to drink, told what to wear. We have the message ‘Whatever we Wear, Wherever we Go, YES means YES and NO means NO’

Start at the University of Manchester Students’ Union at 7.30 and march to reclaim our spaces.

Rally and performers will follow in the Academy, speakers include:

– English Collective of Prostitutes

-Women Asylum Seekers Together

and Helen of Troy will put on a club night to celebrate RECLAIMING.

Personally I’m disappointed that the march is not women-only, or that there isn’t even a women-only section. I think being accompanied by men ruins the visual impact of the event – I want to assert my right to use public space without needing or feeling like I need or being told that I need a male escort. It was also a shame that women’s voices were drowned out by men’s in the mixed section of last year’s march. But I understand that some women prefer to have a mixed genders march and I do hope it’s a success.

The Bristol march has been organised by the Bristol Feminist Network. It takes place on Friday 20th February and begins with a vigil on College Green at 6pm. The march itself kicks off at 7pm, heading through the city centre, across Castle Park, along Old Market and ending at the Trinity building at 8pm. There will then be speakers, music and dancing at the Trinity for the rest of the evening. There will be women-only (including trans women) and mixed gender sections to the march.

Bristol Feminist Network report that:

The march comes at a particularly pertinent time, following the recent spate of sexual assaults and rapes in the Clifton area. During the period of the attacks, women were urged to avoid being alone at night, to stay at home and keep in well lit areas. This typical media reaction to sexual violence teaches women that their freedoms should be curtailed due to male violence.

So get out onto the streets and show the world that it is not women’s responsibility to stop rapists: our freedom will not be curtailed by male violence or the fear of male violence.

Please spread the word.