Reclaim the Night: Hundreds march against sexual violence for 40th anniversary

Reclaim the Night
Hundreds joined together over the weekend to take part in the 40th Reclaim the Night, protesting sexual violence against women.

Almost one thousand women began a two-mile march from outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 25 November in the protest against rape and all forms of sexual violence against women.

The first ‘Reclaim the Night’ took place in 1977, as a protest against a curfew put in place to protect women after notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 women in Leeds and the surrounding areas.

Because of the murders, police warned women to stay indoors at night, a suggestion that was met with uproar.

The outcry prompted the first Reclaim the Night march in Leeds, with women chanting, “No curfew on women – curfew on men”.

The Reclaim the Night website explains: “In the climate of #MeToo, #YoTambien and #BalanceTonPorc Reclaim the Night is as relevant as ever – if not more so. Violence against women continues to occur every minute of every day, but women everywhere are making a stand.”

Speaking to HuffPost UK, organiser Erin Mansell commented on the feeling of solidarity between the women marching at the weekend. She said: “I cannot describe to you the feeling of marching alongside a thousand women at night, taking over the streets of central London.

“The noise, the defiance, the joy and the noise! Yes, there are divisions between us as women; areas of disagreement and power imbalances between us that we need to keep talking and listening about.

“Tonight we reach for solidarity with each other across those divisions, without denying them.

And we say to every woman – we are with you. Shout it with me, ‘Women, united, will never be defeated’.”

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