‘It was great to be back on the streets to show London we are reclaiming the night’
Thousands of women took to the streets of London and other cities across Britain on Saturday for the annual Reclaim The Night protest over rape and male violence against women.
“What do we want? Safe Streets! When do we want it? Now!” chanted protesters as they made their way from Marble Arch to Golden Square, near Piccadilly.
Speakers included shadow women and equalities secretary, Anneliese Dodds.
The march marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence that began on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against all Women.
The event has particular significance this year after a string of attacks on women including Sarah Everard, who was abducted and killed by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens as she walked home earlier this year.
In September, Sabina Nessa was murdered as she walked in Kidbrooke, southeast London.
“It was great to be back on the streets to show London we are reclaiming the night and demand safe streets for us to walk without the threat of male violence,” said one of the London organisers.
Similar marches were held in Leeds, Brighton and Belfast among other cities.
Originally begun in the late 1970s, Reclaim the Night resurged in 2004 as women started addressing concerns over safety and speaking out against sexual harassment and assault.
The movement calls for justice for rape survivors, freedom from harassment and an end to all forms of male violence
According to UN Women UK, an estimated 90,799 women have been sexually assaulted in public spaces in Britain so far this year, while 97 per cent of women say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or violence and one in three will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
“This has to end now, it is a global crisis,” said one protester at London’s march.
“I don’t feel safe walking home alone in London at night anymore, and we need more than just asking women to protect themselves.
“We want to feel safe walking home alone at night. We need systemic change.”
You can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline by calling 0808 2000 247