This coming Friday (25th November) is International Stop Violence against Women Day and Lancaster women will be having a Reclaim the Night march through the town centre to mark the occasion.
The plan is for a women-only march through town, through the busy night-life areas and to stop for some speeches. Women are being encouraged to bring banners, placards, candles and lights. And, perhaps, even prepare a speech.
Organisers say the route is all 'on the flat' (with steps at just one point but an alternative is at hand for wheelchair users) and will take about 20 minutes.
Reclaim the Night marches have been going since the 1970s, as a feminist (and usually women-only) march to assert women's right to walk out and about at night without the fear and reality of sexual harrassment and sexual violence from men.
Reclaim the Night means for women to march through spaces at night that may feel intimidating or where there may have been an incident of sexual violence, as an empowering process of women coming together to literally reclaim space from male violence.
Why Women Only?
Reclaim the Night has a long tradition in the feminist movement of being a women-only march. It is considered an important and empowering experience for women to come together to reclaim space. One of the organisers explained, "Of course male violence affects not just women - there is homophobic violence, transphobic violence, racist violence, gang violence, violence against men who don't conform to the stereotype and just plain old men on men violence. Male violence attempts to dominate night time space. It is all connected and all unacceptable.
"The Reclaim the Night march, however, is a challenge to male violence directed at women - it is a form of resistance that is by women and for women.
"Fear is a powerful force against women's freedom of movement. It is common for women
to be dissuaded from walking alone at night, but Reclaim the Night say women should be allowed to walk anywhere alone without the fear of violence. Reclaim the Night also makes the connection between all forms of violence against women."
• Reclaim the Night March - Friday 25th November. 11pm assemble in Dalton Square Women-only (all self-identifying women welcome)
• Reclaim the Night: http://www.reclaimthenight.org/
• End Violence Against Women: http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/