Reclaim The Night 2006
Posted by charliegrrl on November 29, 2006
Here are some photos of Reclaim The Night 2006
We assembled in Trafalgar Square, then headed off through the streets of London. There was such a buzzing atmosphere. The police estimated 700 women attended. What was especially moving for me, was seeing women from the crowd join in on the march in support. Also, to see the crowd clapping and to know that our message against sexual violence was reaching so many people.
Along the march, we came across a large group of men standing outside a pub, hurling abuse at us, booing, laughing, and shouting ‘Get Your Tits Out!’. There presence was intimidating. I still can’t get over their blatent misogyny. To shout abuse and mock at least 700 women on a march against sexual violence… it’s beyond words.
The police were clearly taken aback by this, and to them it was a clear example of what women have to put up with. I was so enraged I hurled abuse back, but I felt antagonising them could have tainted Reclaim The Night as a peaceful march.
On a more positive note, a new feminist group- East Midland Feminists!
I marched along with Object.
When we reached Spearmint Rhino, a lapdancing club, Object stood outside with their banner ‘Women Not Sex Objects’ in the face of a dozen bouncers. The bouncers epitomized patriarchal power, in the way they stood all macho protecting their den of sexual exploitation. The police gathered around the club to ‘protect’ them from I suppose anger from the crowd. Women booed as they walked past. I got told sharply by a Reclaim The Night steward to move along, as we don’t want to be percieved as anti-sex workers… I’m not anti-sex workers, I’m against the sex industry and I resent being told to move when I wished to express this with fellow women.
After much chanting of ‘Hey Ho, Sexual Violence has got to Go!’ and ‘We Have the Right, to Walk the Streets at Night, Without the Fear of Rape!’…we assembled in ULU for speeches and music.
The speeches began with a woman telling us how she used to live in the same block of flats as an abusive man. She was pregnant at the time, yet he would harrass her and trash her flat. The housing association were reluctant to help her.
Rape Crisis gave a speech about how Rape Crisis centres are closing throughout the UK due to a lack of funding.
Finn McKay gave an excellent closing speech on the plight of women and linked in pornogaphy and the sex industry to sexual violence, which almost had Stormy jumping through the roof with praise!
Overall, I found Reclaim The Night to be a profoundly moving experience. Thanks to everyone who organised it, and to all the women who marched.