Lifestyle, Manchester, News

Manchester Reclaims the Night

0 107

24719764794_c17dae824f_n

Words & Photography: Ruth Hudson

Last Thursday saw over 3,500 people march in solidarity against sexual violence, street harassment and assault in demonstration with Reclaim the Night. The route began at Owen’s Park all the way down Wilmslow Road to finish at The University of Manchester Students’ Union.

Poet and charity worker for Reclaim the Night, Rebecca Hall, explained the protest was about “reclaiming public space, a place where women should feel safe. Because even having survived the walk home, she’s not any safer”.

Founded in 1977 following the series of attacks imposed by ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’, Reclaim the Night is a charity which aims to tackle the UK’s lowest rape conviction rate in Europe. A measly 5.3%. Greater Manchester Police data confirms that in Fallowfield – one of the most populous student areas in the UK – violent and sexual offences have the second highest crime rate in the area.

Lauren McCourt, a committee member of MMU Feminist Society, believes that this not only impacts the safety of students in the area but it also makes them feel unsafe to walk home; night or day.

Although, there are wider concerns in reclaiming the streets of Manchester in relation to women in politics. Rebecca Hall said, “We don’t teach our young people to critique, we don’t expect to see women in power. We only see women dominant in caring professions.25324103356_1e8f19f185_k

 “Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner. Women do not feel safe to walk home, so how can they be represented in parliament?”

It seems in today’s technological era, feminism has hit a third wave in defining its meaning. For students, Isobella Bawsett and Naomi Campbell, feminism means equality to supporting everyone.
Isobella added, “People shouldn’t feel judged in relation to gender or sexuality.”

After the March ended, the night continued to shed a powerful light on sexual violence toward women. Labour Party MP, Kate Green spoke of the public realm belonging to women just as much as it belongs to men.

She said: “80% of the cuts have fallen on women. Remember what’s been taken away from us. Remember services that treated women from sexual abuse.”

Women attending spoke of how today’s culture continues to stigmatize and disillusion those into understanding what rape actually is.

Eiles H24719684814_fa3291c6e9_nall, a third year English Literature student at The University of Manchester, added: “A friend has assaulted them but they don’t even know whether it counts as assault.”

Reclaim the Night represents the widespread continuum of rape crisis. Lauren McCourt suggest we can put these aims into practice by raising money for charities who you’ve been through that situation.

So, how do we keep the streets safe for women? In light of Rebecca Smith’s spoken word poem, “we need to fight back to the silence we’ve been taught.”

 

Ruth is a second year English and American Literature student and runs a blog addressing mental health issues. She also campaigns to eradicate the stigma surrounding sufferers of mental illnesses.

About the author / 

aAh!

aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Opinion: “Our real legacy at university is the friends we make along the way”

    We all prioritise different things in life: our relationships, academic achievement, and financial success. While these can be great catalysts for short and long-term goals, making us resilient,  fixating on these goals can become overwhelming, even detrimental. Focusing on what we feel we have to achieve can make it easy to lose sight of the…

  • Reading and Leeds Festival 2024: The best bands to see this year

    Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield Overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of choice on offer at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ve trawled the lineups to bring you a cluster of acts to watch on the August bank holiday weekend. From jungle to riotous punk, there’s a bounty of brilliant bands…

  • Film Review: The Idea of You – A sappy feel-good rom-com

    Featured image: PA Media In this sappy, heart-warming rom-com, two lovers meet at Coachella as Solène (Anne Hathaway) takes her daughter to a meet and greet at the Californian music festival. Known for her iconic roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and The Princess Diaries (2001), Hathaway plays the role of a 40-year-old divorcee…

  • Travel: Tips for multi-country trips abroad while keeping your bank account happy

    Featured image: Georgia Pearson The summer break from university is approaching and conversations about travel plans can be heard across campus. But with the cost of living at a high, students and young people are looking for cheaper ways to travel this summer. Travelling to multiple countries during one trip can be a budget-friendly way…