Reclaim the night toolkit

Wednesday 24-06-2015 - 00:00

Hello, I’m Alice Phillips, your Equality, Liberation and Access Officer at Bristol SU. In November 2014 I organised Bristol SU’s first Reclaim the Night march, and I can safely say it’s the best thing I’ve done in this job, and probably in my life!

It was fantastic to see 500 students and local people turn out to protest against sexual violence and victim blaming, and reclaim the streets. Today I’m launching the Bristol SU Reclaim the Night toolkit – which will hopefully give you everything you need to organise your own march.

Reclaim the Night is an international movement against sexual violence, which started in the 1970s, with the first UK march taking place in 1977 as a response to the “Yorkshire Ripper” murders of women sex workers. Marches take place at night to protest against the victim blaming attitudes that tell women to stay off the streets if they want to avoid sexual violence or harassment.

Why Reclaim the Night?

  • Ministry of Justice figures tell us that 1 in 5 women (aged 16 - 59) in the UK has experienced some form of sexual violence.
  • The NUS Hidden Marks Report (2010) found that more than one third of women students reported feeling unsafe when visiting their university or college building in the evening. 
  • The report also found that 1 in 7 women had experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time at university.
  • New NUS research published this year found that 37% of women students had experienced unwelcome sexual advances whilst at University.

These stats show that decades after the original Reclaim the Night marches, sexual violence is still a massive issue facing women today. This is why it is so important that we organise Reclaim the Night marches on our campuses.

This toolkit hopefully lays out all the things you need to think about when organising a Reclaim the Night march. Your first step will probably be a general interest meeting in an accessible place, where you can identify the key aims and messages of your march. You can then get organising by assigning roles and responsibilities to individuals or groups. 

I hope this toolkit will help women students at the University of Bristol organise Reclaim the Night marches for years to come.

Download the toolkit (PDF)


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