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‘2, 4, 6, 8, stop the violence, stop the rape’ : UoB students march against gender-based violence

‘Vulvas against violence,’ read one of the posters


If you live anywhere between Queens Square and the Richmond building, you probably heard, "Hey, Ho, the Patriarchy has to go," resonating around Park Street on Sunday 24th November.

That was the sound of women, men, and those that identify as non-binary or trans, protesting against gender-based violence and gender inequality at this years 'Reclaim the Night' march.

The annual event is hosted by the SU and the Women's Network.

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This year's Women's Network Chair, Syirah Ami Azrul lead protesters from Queens Square to a rally outside the Victoria Rooms before heading to the SU.

When the rally arrived at the Victoria Rooms, Syirah made a speech.

"It's amazing seeing so many people here. People have been asking why we are still marching, and the fact is misogyny and rape culture is still very much alive.

"62 per cent of women students have been assaulted in their life at university events or on campus. Women students experience it at double the rate of the national average.

"I would rather worry about my degree, my mental health and my social life than worry about whether I am going to get home safe tonight.

"I know some men are complicit in the patriarchy and I know there are male allies, but they need to do better.

"There is a reason why I am not saying we need to do better, but they need to do better." Syirah said.

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"In Solidarity In Defiance" read Amnesty Feminists posters

The overall atmosphere was one of empowerment and liberation as the crowds chanted, "Say it once, say it again, no excuse for violent men" and "yes means yes, no means no."

The Bristol Tab spoke to a group of female protesters.

One protester said: "It's very important for women to recognise that sexism still exists and fight against that.

"Until you rock the boat on the other side, it's never going to be equal, so you have to keep on rocking it."

Another said: "Most of us still don't feel safe at night. Its massively ignored if you're not in that demographic, but it's something that every woman and girl feels."

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Some creative posters ready to march through the streets

Two men, Lucas and Guy, also shared their perspectives on how they feel walking alone at night.

Guy said: "I've got my headphones in so i'm not thinking too much about my surroundings. I feel like we're not really seen as a target."

Lucas said: "It's pretty messed up. When we were in Barcelona, we were at a club and our girl friend left alone and she got mugged. We were walking back pretty drunk too and it's not like anything happened to us."

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"Public cervix announcement" was one of many puns mounted on to cardboard for the march

There was also a dramatic performance and speech from Bristol Sister Hood, an inter-sectional feminist activist group, who said: "It is not domestic, it is gender-based crime."

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The march was carefully guided through the roads by stewards

Ruth Day from Bristol, Cut The Rent also made a speech highlighting how you can support your lecturers in the fight against the gender pay gap at the upcoming strikes: "Ultimately, these strikes are a feminist issue and we all should be engaging in these strikes as feminists."

The march culminated in an evening of drinks, more speeches and poetry at the SU.