Everything you need to know about Reclaim the Night 2017

It’s happening this Thursday evening and it’s going to be big

On Thursday the 23rd we Reclaim the Night. We will light up Manchester as we march and say NO to violence against women, NO to street harassment and NO to victim blaming.

The March will begin in Fallowfield Owen’s Park outside the Tower at 7pm, with signs, glitter and paint.

Reclaim the Night began on the 12th November 1977 in Leeds, after the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group protested a curfew placed on women following a series of brutal rapes and murders during the 1970s. Everyone should have the right to walk without fear at night, this curfew of women only served to reinforce a culture of victim blaming still prevalent today.

“A survey done by the Students Union found that eight out of 10 women experience sexual harassment at university” said Jenni Smyth, Women’s Officer at at Student’s Union, “this is why Reclaim the Night is so important, it is about coming together and raising our collective voice so that we can’t be ignored any more”.

Another survey done by babe in November 2016 found that 49 per cent of female students experience sexual assault with 51 per cent of those experiences happening at University. Of the women who completed the survey from Manchester, the results showed that 17 per cent said they’d been raped whilst 35 per cent experienced sexual assault, statistics everyone can agree are shocking and need to change.

“Reclaim the Night this year is going to be bigger than any other, it’s a vibrant celebration of women and our camaraderie. Bringing together our voices, families and friends as we say NO more to the epidemic of violence against women”, Jenni Smyth said as we discussed how Reclaim the Night has evolved from it’s origins. This year’s march will have a youth and families block that will focus on the need for proper education on consent and healthy relationships, as well as an LGBTQ block.

The march will be led by a self-defining women’s block and followed by a block for all genders. “We want as many people to come as possible, whilst Reclaim the Night is about ending violence against women, men should also be calling for it. As allies of women in the fight against sexism we want men to not only agree with ending violence against women but to be active supporters.”

Reclaim the Night is necessary in a world where a man who has openly bragged about his sexual exploits of women can become President of the United States. “Donald Trump’s rhetoric of sexism, racism and homophobia reinforces an extremely damaging attitude in which violence against people and particularly women is dismissed as banter”, continued Jenni Smyth, “it is scary and shocking but it means now is the time to stand together, raise our voices and demand to be heard”.

After the march there will be a Free After Party at the Student’s Union from 9pm-2am. Consisting of a festival of the finest women talent, speakers, live music, DJs, crafts and community stalls.