Hundreds of students march through Manchester for Reclaim the Night

 

"My little black dress does not mean yes," one banner read. "No means no," said another.

Last week hundreds of students took to the streets in Manchester for Reclaim the Night, part of a global movement against sexual violence. A recent survey of young women showed that 43 per cent have reported being sexually harassed in a public place in the last 12 months, and a 2013 Home Office study showed that one in five women have been sexually assaulted since the age of 16, yet only 15 per cent felt able to report this to the authorities. To take a stand against this the Reclaim The Night marches have been taking place all over the UK for international women’s week, marching at night, with protesters take a stance against the victim-blame culture that tells women to stay off the streets at night in case they invite sexual harassment.

Tabz O’Brien, women’s officer at University Of Manchester, says that Reclaim the night "is more than just a march - it’s a battle ground". And the Manchester march was certainly a glorious sight, with hundreds of protesters in neon lights, lighting up the student city with chanting, generating awareness for all the victims of sexual harassment. The protesters consisted of students and local men and women alike. This year's theme was sound and the protesters ensured their chants were heard loud and clear.

Inspired by America’s Take Back the Night marches, Reclaim the Night started out as a protest against the Yorkshire Ripper killings in the late 70s. Now put together by student unions over the UK, the Reclaim marches are responsible for bringing a very important issue to light within student cities. Over 400,000 women have been victims of a sexual offence and around 85,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year. Violence against women - as one banner read - "must stop".

Rape culture is still a prevalent issue in a society where rape victims are still often questioned on how much they drank and what they were wearing, subtlety placing the blame for sexual offence on them, rather than the perpetrator.

NUS women’s officer Kelley Temple says that "when it comes to sexual harassment and assault in particular, women are continuously blamed, whether it be for their appearance, if they’d had a drink, the company they keep or, quite simply, just being a woman.” 

This was the general consensus felt during the Yorkshire killings in the 70s, when local women were given curfews by the police, triggering anger amongst women nationally - why should women have to alter and adapt to cater to the needs of sexual offenders? Reclaim the Night attempts to challenge this view, and if the march in Manchester was anything to go by, they are doing a great job.

From Cambridge to Coventry, women and men have been reclaiming the night. In Manchester, led by a women's-only bloc, the neon parade went strong and made sure that the voices of sexual harassed women were heard.

Photograph: Jessie Cohen

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent