Activism  /  Reclaim the Night 2023 

Reclaim the Night is annual march, campaigning to end Gender-based violence and to make noise in a space that women are typically encouraged to avoid. The march demands that women are able to move throughout public spaces at night and encourages all genders to come together to Reclaim the Night!

The History

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. They were called by the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group, who were inspired by news of co-ordinated women-only ‘Take Back The Night’ marches against sexual harassment, held across towns and cities in West Germany on the 30th April 1977.

In America the marches are known as ‘Take Back The Night’ and the first formal march with this title was held in San Francisco in 1978. Reportedly, the first ever ‘Reclaim The Night’ march with that title was held in Rome in 1976 to protest against a rise in reported rapes.

Inspired by the news from Germany, women in Leeds formed a Reclaim The Night group to take collective action against rape and male sexual violence against women.

This was particularly significant to women in the area because of the serial murders by Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed by the press as the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, who sexually attacked and murdered thirteen women across Yorkshire between 1975 and 1980.

Women in the area were angry that the police response to these murders seemed slow and that the press barely reported on them when it was mainly women involved in prostitution who were murdered. But when a young student woman was murdered, the press and the police seemed to take more notice. The police response was to tell women not to go out at night, effectively putting them under curfew.

The 16 Day of Activism

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs through International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. Already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, its prevalence is now being further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict and economic instability.

Against this setting, a backlash against women’s rights is underway around the world. Anti-feminist movements are on the rise, attacks against women human rights defenders and activists are up, and the legal status of women’s rights is under threat!

Reclaim the Night 2023

Reclaim the Night 2023 was an incredible success with over 100 attendees of the march and 11 workshops leading up to the big day.

We already can’t wait to begin preparations for 2024- keep your eye out for important dates and the launch!

CHARITY NO. 1187478

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