Reclaim the Night 2023: Students in Lincoln march together to advocate for women’s safety

‘If it takes us marching each year to make sure women’s safety is not ignored, so be it’


On Tuesday night, hundreds of students gathered in front of the Student Union to march through the high street to Reclaim the Night. As we walked, students’ shouts demanding safety for women echoed all over the city. Despite the cold, a determined community of students created an empowering and uplifting environment with a clear message: Women deserve to walk safely at night.

The Reclaim the Night march, first organised in the 1970s to fight against sexual harassment and violence against women, is a national movement and has been organised in Lincoln since 2017. Since then, the annual march has been raising awareness for women’s safety in Lincoln and has gathered more and more student interest over the years.

Lead officer and VP for Wellbeing and Comunity at the SU expressed the importance of the march saying: “We organise Reclaim the Night march every year because the issue is not going away.

“Local and national authorities do not pay enough attention to what students are saying and what they are advocating for. By marching together we are loudly saying students demand and deserve more.

“I’m sure many of us are tired of constantly worrying about which way, with whom, what time, and how fast you can get back home every night. We may think marches, like Reclaim the Night, are pointless. But if there’s one word we want you to remember, it is persistence.

“We must nurture it, every time our safety becomes devalued or ignored. And if it takes us each year to march, shouting the same words, expressing the same frustrations, until we can shout no more, so be it.”

Students who joined the march on Tuesday night shared this sentiment and the importance of movements promoting women’s safety. Signs made by students to carry during the march help spread the march’s campaign, with some notable signs saying “Educate Men”, “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This March is About You” and “Boys Will Be Held Accountable.”

Others highlighted facts, such as the Office for National Statistics reporting almost 200,000 sexual offences committed in the year ending in March 2022.

Beth Howard, a third year student at the University of Lincoln shared her reasons for marching: “It’s really important to be here today because women should always stand with other women.

“It’s all about being empowered and about feeling safe and protected. There have been far too many nights walking home where I’ve been walking and felt unsafe or been shouted out. I don’t think this is acceptable in this day and age. We need to make more of an effort to make things safer for women.”

As the march ended back in front of the SU, the night felt a little bit safer for the community who stood together to reclaim the night.

If you or someone you know is affected by issues of women’s safety and sexual harassment mentioned in this article, support is available at the university through Student Wellbeing or by emailing [email protected]

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