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Notts Students ‘Reclaim The Night’

Students from UoN and NTU protest in the streets of Nottingham as part of the 'Reclaim the Night' movement.
Abi Kara-Fernandes

On the evening of November 27th, hundreds of women took to the streets of Nottingham to ‘Reclaim the Night’, the city’s biggest annual grassroots protest against male violence towards women, including physical, which 1 in 3 women will experience in a lifetime, as well as verbal. Abi Kara-Fernandes reports on the women who have taken to the streets to reclaim their safety.

Gathering in Sneinton Market, the crowd marched through Nottingham city centre, led by a host of drums and accompanied by chants such as “1, 2, 3, 4, we won’t take it anymore, 5, 6, 7, 8, no more violence, no more hate“, succeeding in drawing attention from surrounding residents and establishments. Many of the protesters also carried homemade signs perfectly captioning their anger at the years of mistreatment women have faced.

One protestor at the ‘Reclaim The Night’ march holding up a sign saying ‘catcalling gives cats a bad name’.

‘Reclaim the Night’ began in 1977 across the UK

Finishing outside NTU Dryden Centre after just under an hour’s walk, the Reclaim Rally began, where a range of speakers empowered the crowd further. This included members from both UoN and NTU’s Feminist Societies, and Nadia Whittome, the MP for Nottingham East. The emotional night was rounded off with a live music set from JayaHadADream.

‘Reclaim the Night’ began in 1977 across the UK, where torchlit marches took place in Leeds, York, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton and London, as part of the Women’s Liberation Movement. These marches, demanding safe public spaces for women at night, continued across England until the 1990s. These processions then developed to tackle numerous other issues the female population face every single day, with 97% of women aged 18-24 reporting to have experienced sexual harrassement this past year.

These marches are women only, in part due to this shocking figure, emphasising the need to make attendees feel safe and further validated in their cause. Unfortunately, during the demonstration, many men on the streets highlighted the need for this exclusion, with some maliciously shouting at the women marching. It is important, however, to note that ‘Reclaim the Night’ strive to be inclusive for anyone who has faced misogynistic oppression, including those who are gender non-conforming or non-binary.

Another protestor holds up a sign which states ‘my safety is non-negotiable’.

Whilst male allies are not allowed at these women-only marches, they are encouraged to get involved with the White Ribbon campaign instead. This Nottingham movement emphasises the need for those of all genders to act now, to prevent incidents of misogyny before they take place. Men were also allowed to attend the speeches at the Reclaim Rally that took place after the march, with a White Ribbon representative on hand to talk to those who wanted to learn more.

Abi Kara-Fernandes

Featured image courtesy of Abi Kara-Fernandes. Permission for use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of Abi Kara-Fernandes. Permission for use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

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