45% of UK women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
Less than 6% of reported rapes end in a conviction
Reclaim the Night marches started in the 1970s, when the Yorkshire Ripper was murdering women in and around Leeds and police told women not to go out at night. Women were angry at this attempt to restrict their freedom due to the threat of male violence and responded by taking to the streets.
Today, people are still subject to harassment and oppression because of their gender identity or expression. We are still told that we need someone to chaperone us at night – either in a taxi or by walking us home – and that we must watch what we wear, what we drink and where we go in case a strange man decides to attack us. Yet it is not our clothes, drinking or use of public space that are to blame for rape and violence, and we are statistically most likely to be attacked in our own home or workplace by a man we know.
At the same time, our nights out are too often marred by street harassment, groping and other forms of sexual assault at the hands of those who think we are fair game.
We want to reclaim the night from both the fear and reality of gender-based violence. Our message is that we are never to blame for rape and abuse and that we have the right to feel safe on our own streets and in every area of our lives.