On Thursday night, the 30th November 2017, hundreds of women, girls and men gathered before marching through the city of Exeter. This was Exeter’s 6th Reclaim the Night march and is part of the worldwide movement to combat the threats, harassment and violence that women face every single day – especially at night. No woman feels safe at night, especially if say, returning to your car after an evening out with friends, catching the bus or tube home. It says everything about some men who have not yet moved on from the Neanderthals, that women have their movements restricted in this way.
The Reclaim the Night event started with a gathering at St Sidwell Community Centre from 4pm – 6pm where people from Exeter and the surrounding areas joined together in solidarity against harassment, intimidation and violence on our city streets. There were placard and banner making workshops, food and refreshments as well as general inspiration to generate an atmosphere of collaboration and community. The march itself started at 6.30pm from St Sidwell’s and ended around 7.30pm in Bedford Square, Exeter. More information can be found here.
Every year the Reclaim the Night march in Exeter has increased in size and this year it was estimated that well over 300 people turned out in the freezing conditions to take part in this important demonstration against male violence. The atmosphere was really wonderful with plenty of chanting different memes such as “2, 4, 6, 8 – End the violence, End the hate” and “Whatever we wear, Wherever we go – Yes means Yes – and No means NO” and some great banners with wonderful messages such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights“. We walked down some pretty dark and secluded streets and it felt safe to do so – although in reality, I would have avoided those streets if I was on my own and made a detour which would have taken me twice as long to get to my destination – and this is something that all women have to do when we are out on our own at night.
What really struck me was the inclusivity of the feminists who were there – which was in such stark contrast to all the recent media hate. Towards the end of the march I was talking to the chair of the Exeter branch of the Women’s Equality Party and she was telling me of their complete inclusion of transgender women into their party and was extremely passionate about her support for the transgender community (and all women, whichever community they came from). I have also been invited to go and talk at one of their meetings, which I will be glad to be able to do.
Below is a video slideshow which I made of the still images which I took on the night – enjoy.
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