University of Bristol Students’ Union is inviting people to join their march to Reclaim the Night, an international movement against sexual violence.
‘Reclaim The Night’ marches take place at night to protest against the victim blaming which tells women to stay home in the evening if they want to avoid sexual violence or harassment.
According to the British Crime Survey (2001) there are an estimated 47,000 rapes every year, around 40,000 attempted rapes and over 300,000 sexual assaults. Yet our conviction rate is the lowest it has ever been, one of the lowest in Europe, at only 5.3%. This means that more rapists were convicted in the 1970s when Reclaim The Night marches first started than they are now.
The Reclaim The Night marches started in the UK on the 12th November 1977, when torchlit marches were held across England in Leeds, York, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton and London.
On 7th November 2014, the UBU students union led event will be marching from Queen Square, at 6pm, to the Anson Rooms in UBU to reclaim our right to walk the streets at night and protest against sexual violence and street harassment. All gender identities and sexualities are welcome on the march and the event is for the whole of Bristol and the wider South West region.
Alice Phillips, UBU’s Equality, Liberation and Access Officer said “At Reclaim the Night we will be spreading the message that if someone experiences sexual assault or rape it is never their fault. Furthermore we will be calling for compulsory sex and relationship education for our young people to help them understand consent and healthy relationships.”
The march will begin with a candlelit vigil to remember survivors of rape and sexual abuse and a collection of donations for Kinergy, a professional, confidential counselling service for survivors of sexual abuse and/or rape.
A rally will be held following the march, where speakers will include Susuana Antubam, NUS Women’s Officer ; Rowan Miller the Director of SARSAS – Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support ; Shabana Kausar from Bristol Against Violence and Abuse , and Sarah Wilson from Kinergy.
This is the first time University of Bristol Students’ Union has organised a Reclaim the Night march, however Bristol Feminist Network organised a march in 2011 where more than 200 people too part.