Women from Devon are planning another large gathering against sexual violence on the streets this winter. The Reclaim the Night events are designed to promote public awareness about the levels of violence and harassment experienced by women and girls on our streets.
Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services, Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE), Local Feminist groups and students have joined forces again to make this year another large, visible protest about sexual violence. Chair of the Planning Group, Mandy Barnes commented "The march is happening during the 16 days of action, which are between the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women and girls - 25th November and the 10th December which is Human Rights Day. This reminds us all that violence and harassment is still an ongoing concern for women in Exeter and Devon as well as across the globe and that it is a human right for us to be able to feel safe out on the streets where we live."
Reclaim the Night Exeter is an inclusive event and will take place on Saturday 1st December 2018. Starting with a gathering at St Sidwell Community Centre from 2pm – 6pm, where people from Exeter and the surrounding areas will join together in solidarity against harassment, intimidation and violence on our city streets. There will be placard and banner making workshops, vocal and movement warm-up sessions, food and refreshments as well as general inspiration to generate an atmosphere of collaboration and community. The march itself starts at 7pm from St Sidwell’s ending around 8.30pm in Bedford Square.
Fee Scott from Devon RCSAS said that "Reclaim the Night events have been hosted across the country since 1977 and we are so pleased to be generating more and more interest in our annual protest in Exeter. We know that many people have never been on a march before and may feel slightly unsure about joining in but we would encourage anyone who cares about women and children to come along. The atmosphere will be light, you will be amongst people who feel the same as you and the march is about visibility rather than confrontation. Marshalls and local police ensure this event is safe for everyone, including children."
Volunteers are needed
Women from all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to step forward and take up lead roles and positions in this year’s event. Emma Pope from Feminist Devon said "Women have been socially, culturally and economically conditioned to defer to men, we want to challenge this. We want women at Reclaim the Night to lead, feel strong, safe and empowered."
Izzi Briggs – student said "I never feel completely safe walking after dark around the city. Going to Reclaim the Night for the first time was really empowering and reassuring as I met others who felt the same way as me – there was a great sense of community. I think it’s so important that something is being done to face sexual harassment and violence on the streets. I can’t wait to join in this year."