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

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine