As the nights get longer and we prepare for the holiday season, this time of year also marks a very important campaign; The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign run by individuals and groups around the world that demands an end to all forms of violence against women.
The ‘Reclaim the Night’ marches are a very important part of this series of global events, they highlight the need for action against all gender based violence. A demand for the right to be free from the fear of street harassment, stalking, rape and all other violence, violence that acutely impacts women and members of the LGBTQ community.
As cities around the world hold their ‘Reclaim the Night’ march, Belfast is no different with a march planning to set off from Buoy Park this Saturday (28th November) at 7pm and ending at Custom House Square at 8pm. The organisers have extended a welcome invite to take part to everyone of all genders and ages but have stipulated that as women and LGBTQ people are disproportionately victims of these injustices, that they will lead the march.
‘Reclaim the Night’ is organised by grassroots activists from Hollaback! Belfast and Belfast Feminist Network. The March will feature speakers from Gender Jam, the Rainbow Project and Sex Workers Alliance Ireland to name but a few.
Why do we need to ‘Reclaim the Night?’
The statistics vary from country to country, but one in three women can expect to fall victim to some form of violence in their lifetime. In the UK, for every man who experiences domestic abuse, there are two women who experience it, with an estimated 28.3% of women over the age of 16 having endured domestic abuse at some point in their life; that’s 4.6 MILLION women in the UK.
PSNI statistics show that whilst more sexual offences and other forms of street violence are being reported, there is still a steady increase in attacks. Our streets are not safe, especially for women and our LGBTQ community, reclaiming our night is a step towards reclaiming our freedom from fear, everyone should be able to walk these streets without looking over our shoulder.
You can find out more about this Saturday’s march (and post-march social gathering) here, don’t forget to follow the ‘Reclaim the Night’ Facebook page to stay up to date with the fight for safer streets.
From The Last Round team