With Reclaim The Night Liverpool‘s third event taking place tomorrow, I thought it’d be fitting to compile a Buzzfeed-style list of reasons why you should come along, as well as all the information you’ll need about taking part – as if you’d need any convincing!
1) You’ll be joining over a 40 year legacy…
Reclaim The Night Liverpool’s third march takes place this year but RTN, a movement which campaigns for an end to street harassment and sexual violence towards women, boasts a much longer legacy. Originating in Leeds, UK, in November 1977 Reclaim The Night was inspired by a series of marches called ‘Take Back The Night’ coordinated by women in Germany the same year. The marches were also a result of many women being incensed by the police and press reaction to the serial sexual attacks and murders of women in Leeds by Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, between 1975 and 1980. The police response was to tell women not to go out at night, effectively putting them under curfew. Were women expected to stay indoors for the duration of Sutcliffe’s elusion which lasted 5 years? This is the legacy you can be a part of this Friday in Liverpool!
2) If you’ve never been to an event like this before, this is the perfect opportunity to wear your shiny new social activism hat with power and pride.
This year’s Reclaim the Night Liverpool event will take place on Friday 24th April. The first section of the march will meet outside Liverpool Town Hall, at the junction of Dale Street/Castle Street, L2 3SW at 7.30pm and will be open to all self-defining women. This is out of respect for victims of sexual violence and street harassment and in order for these women to reclaim our city, its streets and the night.
The march will lead up through the city centre, to our ‘ally point’ at St Luke’s Church (the ‘Bombed Out Church’) at approximately 8pm – it is at this point that all other supporters will join the march. From here we will proceed together in support and solidarity to the after party at a venue TBC.
The after party will have an amazing line-up of all women speakers, performance poets and live musicians for everyone involved in the march.
3) Reclaim The Night Liverpool campaigns against street harassment and violence towards women in ALL its forms.
While many societal factors including prevailing ‘lad culture’ or ‘rape culture’ can make so called ‘low level’ sexual assault a cultural norm, RTN Liverpool wants to bring this issue to the fore. Unwanted sexual touching (UST), or sexual advances can often be considered a less severe form of victimisation than rape or other ‘serious’ sexual offences, to the level that many victims presume they have to ‘get on with it’, or ‘laugh it off’. At RTN we say no to all UST, street harassment, catcalling and victimisation because wolf whistles aren’t big and they aren’t clever!
4) RTN also demonstrates the rights of self-defining women to walk the streets at night without fear of abuse, or victim-blaming.
Street harassment is a massive issue that many or perhaps most self-defining women come up against in their daily lives but RTN Liverpool also demonstrates that the streets are just as safe a place for women to be as men. Whilst institutions like the Greater Manchester Police advised women to take ‘common-sense precautions’ such as not going out at night alone in order to prevent themselves from being attacked in December 2014, RTN raises the fact that women being on the streets doesn’t cause these instances. By marching together, at night, RTN Liverpool shows us that women CAN and SHOULD be free to walk safely in their cities at night.
5) It’s a safe space.
RTN Liverpool marches are a unifying and safe space where members are brought together to experience solidarity and mutual support. The first section of the march sets off from the Town Hall at 7:30pm and is open to self-defining women and all children only – this is out of respect and for the safety of survivors of violence and harassment. The second part of the march is open to all from our ‘ally point’ which is St Luke’s, or colloquially the Bombed Out Church, at 8pm. Stewards will be on hand to keep members of the march physically safe as even the best of us struggle to cross roads safely alone – let alone when we’re part of a massive march.
6) It’s fun, honest!
What could be more fun than marching mightily through Liverpool City Centre amidst a cacophony of screaming, shouting, chanting voices, strongly exercising their equal rights? Chant sheets are available so that all members of the march can join in! It gets better…
7) There’s a PARTY afterwards!
Following the march, all self-defining women and allies are invited to our after party/rally event which will be held at Siren Liverpool, in the Women’s Org, at 54 St James Street (in the Baltic Triangle area). It’s a really exciting atmosphere as everyone will still be buzzed from the march and thinking about the sorts of issues that our fabulous speakers and performance poets will talk, sing and shout about. There’s also a live acoustic set from Liverpool music act ‘She Drew The Gun’ for your listening pleasure.
8) It’s cathartic.
There’s something electrifying, empowering and exciting about marching in solidarity with a group of like-minded humans. If you’re affected by any of the content during and after the march stewards will be on hand to comfort and give out contact information for a number of support services in and around our local area.
Please tweet us and send your preparation pictures and messages to #RTNLIV2015 to get involved on social media too!
If you need help and support regarding sexual violence or assault, here is some RASA (Rape and Sexual Abuse) contact information for our local areas:
Birkenhead – 0151 650 0155
Sefton – 0151 922 9385
Liverpool – 0151 707 4313
West Wirral – 0151 633 2151