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Students prepare for Reclaim the Night ahead of Thursday’s feminist march

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Humanity Hallows Issue 5 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online

Photography: Evelyn Sweeney

In the run up to Manchester’s Reclaim the Night event this Thursday, students from across Manchester Metropolitan University came together at the MMU Union to create banners and lanterns in preparation for the the night of protest.

The lantern making aspect was provided by Light Up Fallowfield. We spoke to Zuzanna and Jess who’d recently put on an event to light up the alleyway behind Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield in response to 2015’s Manchester International Student Safety Survey. The survey highlighted the area as the least safe feeling of the heavily student populated area, as well as a number of attacks on women near the area in 2016. “We all live in that area, we have friends that live there, it’s the whole consensus of ‘Oh god how am I going to get home, I’ll have to pay for a taxi or ring my friend or pretend I’m on my phone so it seems like I’m not alone.’ It’s not the way we should have to live our lives.”

We spoke to the head of the MMU Feminist Society Mia who praised this year’s student engagement with the march: “We have seen a bigger turn out of students who are interested in Reclaim the Night than ever before. It’s a big event for me every single year. I’ve always gone, first year here I tried to persuade my flatmates and friends to go but this year I thought I should try and get more student involvement.

“We also live in Fallowfield and areas where there’s street harassment and sexual assault affecting our lives, to not march is a bit foolish. You should be able to feel safe in your own community.”

We asked what she felt was the purpose of the Reclaim the Night March: “It’s to encourage people to not feel so scared to go outside their houses, but also to show that we are not okay with how these people are treating us. Each person has their own views on why they might march but we all agree it’s important.”

We also asked about the SMART Martial Arts events that the Feminist Society are running in partnership with MMU Sport: “We linked up to put on an event to learn how to keep ourselves safe, so that if the horrible happens we know how to protect ourselves. I’ve been a student here for three years and I just wasn’t aware that they existed.”

So if you need some extra incentive to join with the march on Thursday, Mia has some final words of inspiration: “It’s an event for all of Manchester, why not Manchester Met students?”

Event details

Manchester Met Pre-March Meet at 5:30pm, Font (Fallowfield)
Reclaim the Night March at 7pm, Owen’s Park

Join Humanity Hallows and MMU Fem Soc as we prepare to Reclaim the Night from 5:30pm. There’ll be face painting, last minute sign-making and fundraising for Manchester Rape Crisis before we head across to Owen’s Park for the march at 7pm.

You can view a full gallery of the event courtesy of Evelyn Sweeney below and find out more about Reclaim the Night on their Facebook page.

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Jack Holmes

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