Sheffield defiant during Reclaim the Night march
It happened yesterday in protest against gendered violence
People marched through the city centre last night taking a stand against violence towards women and the blaming of victims.
Organised by Sheffield Women’s Committee, the protest was followed by a rally in Fusion, including performances from members of Poetry Society and speeches from women’s and LGBT* rights activists.
Grace, a Politics and Economics second year who was marching, said: “It’s ridiculous that me and my friends get freaked out by groups of men at night.”
Reclaim the Night marches began back in the 1970s, following the Yorkshire Ripper Murders.
The police told women not to go out at night, so protests were organised against this attempt to resist women’s freedom.
Freya Gill-Stevens, women’s rep for Sheffield Labour Students, explained why she thinks the movement is still relevant nowadays: “We need to show that we care, especially followed government cuts to services that help victims of assault and abuse.
“All those small experiences, like cat calling and groping on nights out, add up to an environment where men believe it’s acceptable to rape”.
Moya O’Rourke explained some of the sexual harassment she’s experienced during nights out: “I have 36D breasts so I get comments all the time, three men were once slapping my arse in a kebab shop, and wouldn’t stop until I shouted at them repeatedly.
“No little girls should grow up afraid to go out at night because of behaviour like this and worse.
“My experiences aren’t isolated incidents, but it’s not just women who need to act to change things – men do too.”
Sheffield Labour Students organised a “craftivism” session before the march, where banners and placards were made.
Money was also raised for charities Ashiana and Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, both of which help women in our area.
Rachel Caringbull, chair of Women’s Committee, was pleased with the response to the march so far: “People in general have been so enthusiastic.
“I’ve had a few negative comments, mostly from men, saying that harassment is not a huge problem.”