Activism@SRC / Reclaim the Night
Reclaim the Night 2018
In 2018, Suffolk Rape Crisis decided to bring back Reclaim the Night Ipswich, working with Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices, The Student Union at The University of Suffolk, Suffolk Feminist Society and I Can Run Club!
A quick history:
Reclaim the Night came to the UK 40 years ago, in 1977. One of the first marches took place in Leeds where women took to the streets to protest the police requesting women to stay at home after dark in response to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Placards read “No curfew on women – curfew on men”. This march inspired similar marches all over the country, where women took to the streets to demand an end to sexual violence, and gender inequality. These marches have continued year after year across the U.K, and even worldwide.
With this in mind, we started having planning meetings, and suddenly the event felt real! The next step including designing posters, setting a date in November, creating a route, and advertising the event! We also got to work designing merchandise, creating a website, social media accounts, and contacting the local media!
In the weeks leading up to the march, Suffolk Rape Crisis and The Student Union held placard making workshops and encouraged women in Suffolk to join us for an evening of feminism and arts and crafts. We planned an after-party, which would include dancers in the open space at the waterfront in Ipswich, and a space to gather in a local café.
Our Director, Amy Roch also made various media appearances and raised awareness of the vital work that we do here at SRC.
As Ipswich had not held a Reclaim the Night since 2006, we were unsure of how many people would attend, but as we began to congregate in The University of Suffolk’s Waterfront building, the crowd of us only grew. We marched through Ipswich town centre, with more and more people joining us along the way. We held our banners high; we shouted and demanded our rights as women to feel safe in our local community, and we attracted coverage from all the local media. At the end of the march- the organisers gave incredible speeches about the work they do, and the work to be done, and inspired all of us to make a change and stand up to inequality.