Laura details the various reclaim the night marches taking place across the country this month in a bid to raise awareness of violence against women

RTN London.jpgThe 25th of this month marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and Reclaim the Night marches have been springing up around it across the country in the last few years.

Reclaim the Night marches started in the 1970s, when the Yorkshire Ripper was murdering women in and around Leeds and police told women not to go out at night. Women were angry at this attempt to restrict their freedom due to the threat of male violence – particularly given that they were more likely to face abuse in their own homes – and responded by taking to the streets. Their anger was compounded by the fact that the police initially failed to take the murders seriously because it was prostitute women/sex workers being killed.

Today, women’s lives are still marred by violence and victim blaming. We are still told that we need men to chaperone us at night – either in a taxi or by walking us home – and that we must watch what we wear, what we drink and where we go in case a strange man decides to attack us. Yet it is not our clothes, drinking or use of public space that are to blame for rape and violence, and we are statistically most likely to be attacked in our own home or workplace by a man we know.

At the same time, our nights out are too often marred by street harassment, groping and other forms of sexual assault at the hands of men who think we are fair game.

Reclaim the Night marches are therefore a chance to assert our right to use public space at night free from both the fear and reality of male violence, and to protest against VAW more generally.

Details of various RTNs taking place across the country are below. Please leave us a comment if I’ve missed yours!

Photo of marchers on Reclaim the Night London by Hannah Nicklin, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

Brighton, Saturday 17 Nov

Gather outside Brighton Station, 6pm. Rally at St Mary’s Church until 11pm.

Open to all genders.

More details, including accessibility info, here.

Cornwall, Saturday 24 November

Meet at The Source, Newquay, at 6.30pm for a pre-party, walk from 7.30pm.

The whole event is for women only (including trans women).

More details here.

London, Saturday 24 November

Meet at Whitehall Place, 6pm. Rally at Camden Centre.

March for women only (including trans women) plus children under 12; rally open to all.

More details, including accessibility info, here.

Sunderland, Saturday 24 November

Gather at 6.30pm at the Memorial Garden, Sunderland Civic Centre. Rally and vigil at Mowbray Park.

Open to all.

More details here.

Glasgow, Monday 26 November

Assemble 6pm, Botanic Gardens main entrance. Rally at STUC.

Open to all.

More details here.

Cardiff, Thursday 29 November

March from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, 6.30pm, rally at same venue.

The march will be led by a bloc of self-defining women, with a group of activists of any gender supporting behind. Rally open to all.

More details here.

Sheffield, Friday 30 November

Gather outside Cathedral from 7pm. Rally at Coffee Revolution in the University of Sheffield Students’ Union, 8.30pm.

March open to all self-defining women, plus male carers and dependents. People who do not define as a woman but experience discrimination because they are perceived as female are also welcome to attend. Rally open to all.

More details, including accessibility info, here.

Leeds, Saturday 1 December

Gather outside Leeds Art Gallery from 5.30pm, march from 6.30pm. Rally at Leeds Metropolitan University Students’ Union, 7.30pm.

March open to all women from start (including trans women), final stage of march and rally open to all.

Facebook page here (request to join – for women only).