Reclaim the Night Leeds

// 4 November 2009

Reclaim the Night Leeds is taking place on Saturday 28th November. Meet outside Leeds Art Gallery at 6pm for a 6.30pm start. The main march is open to all self-defining women and other supporters are welcome to join the end of the march at approximately 7.10pm outside M&S on Briggate. There will be a post-march reception with talks and stalls, which is open to all. Children are welcome to attend. The aims of the march are:

a. To raise awareness and understanding of rape and sexual violence committed against women and girls. This will include exploding myths around rape and sexual violence and challenging public attitudes towards rape and sexual violence as symbolised by the low rape conviction rate;

b. By publicising the prevalence and effects of rape and sexual violence, provide a platform for campaigning for improved services in the Leeds area, thus striving to make safer and sustainable communities;

c. To build partnerships with national and Leeds based organisations and ensure Reclaim the Night Leeds is citywide;

d. To encourage and promote the participation of all women and work towards encompassing their diversity.

RTN organisers and supporters will be publicising the event on Briggate all day on Saturday 14 November, please do join them if you have some time to spare.

Hope to see some of you on the 28th!

Comments From You

Ruth Moss // Posted 5 November 2009 at 7:09 am

Open to all self-defining women?

Children are welcome to attend?

At a time that’s appropriate for young children with early bedtimes?

Are my eyes deceiving me? Is this a Reclaim the Night that’s doing it right?

Good on you, Leeds!

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 5 November 2009 at 11:06 am

I am fully supportive of these marches yet I am still not convinced why it is necessary to exclude men in this particular case. The post-march reception is open to all, so why not the march itself?

Laura // Posted 5 November 2009 at 1:28 pm

Hi Daniela,

Briefly – the whole point of Reclaim the Night is to assert women’s right to use public space safely and to live free of male violence. The women-only nature of the event is a visual representation of our demands – we don’t want or need men to ‘protect’ us when we walk home at night – and is also rooted in the history of Reclaim the Night, when women were told to stay off the streets in response to the Yorkshire ripper killings. Women took over public space to protest at this victim blaming, scare mongering approach.

sianmarie // Posted 5 November 2009 at 2:03 pm

hi daniela

in bristol our RTN was mixed (we are in the decision process for whether to have it mixed in 2010) with a woman’s only segment leading the march. it was very important to us that the women only section was at the front, to show that we don’t need men’s protection.

the reasons we had to include men were manifold. we didn’t want to exclude men as we felt it was important to recognise that in order to fight violence against women, we need men on our side, that men support and care about this issue, and are affected by it.

we also didn’t want to leave men behind as this could also exclude women, from women who would not support an exclusive march or feel upset/offended that men weren’t welcome and, perhaps even more importantly, to allow women who might need a male companion (e.g. carers or for cultural reasons) to attend.

it is such a tricky debate and i do understand why some RTNs choose to be single sex. i’m not sure if bristol has been the only recent mixed march? does anyone know?

yet even having made the march mixed with the women’s only section, we were still criticised by some male attendees for not being “inclusive enough” – for example none of the speakers at the rally were men. we pointed out that this was because it was primarily a woman focussed event, looking at violence against women, and that no men had volunteered to speak. i was furious about that criticism i have to say! it seems you can’t win…

we’re in the planning stages now so it depends on the consultation whether the march is voted to be mixed or self identified women only.

this has been a bit rambling sorry! just wanted to say how some marches are mixed and that was our reasoning as to why!

Amy Clare // Posted 5 November 2009 at 2:42 pm

@Laura:

That’s all very well, and I understand the reasons, but I am excluded from the march on those grounds, because I am disabled and my carer (my boyfriend) would need to push my wheelchair.

As it happens I can’t make it on that night anyway, but this is something that I would have liked to have been involved with otherwise.

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 5 November 2009 at 6:25 pm

Hi Laura,

I get your points about the symbolism of a women-only march. I think this is a case where both options would be valid and I dont really have a strong preference for either.

Unfortuneatley I live quite far away from Leeds but enjoy the march!

Karen // Posted 5 November 2009 at 10:04 pm

There is no easy answer to this discussion and imo no way of pleasing all different viewpoints. This was something that was considered long and hard, and the organisers have tried to get a compromise by having a section of the route for self-defining women only and a section of the route for all.

If anyone would like to attend but is unable to due to things such as disability, please get in touch. The organisers have been working really hard to make the event inclusive, within its context, so will be happy to help as much as they can.

And re the mixed/non mixed experiences thing, see if you can get in touch with the Manchester organisers as they had some interesting experiences relating to this.

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 6 November 2009 at 12:14 am

Hi sianmarie,

I like your compromise of a mixed march with women leading. Personally I would ask the man who complained about no male speakers to do a speech himself next time!

sianmarie // Posted 9 November 2009 at 4:17 pm

hi daniela – we did tell him so via facebook! it really annoyed me as we spent ages having planning meetings and consultations etc, to which none of the men who complained turned up to! as we explained, we wanted the speeches to represent workers for services such as SARC and Rape Crisis and other violence against women related groups. and the fact is, the majority of the people who work in this area ar women!

ahh well you can’t please all the people all the time!

we’ve been having the same debate abou IWD. it;s so tough to find agreement, as all sides of the argument are fair and convincing.

Laura // Posted 9 November 2009 at 4:56 pm

sianmarie – If this dude’s muscling to get a male speaker just for the hell of having a male speaker on the platform I’d say he doesn’t really understand feminism!

sianmarie // Posted 10 November 2009 at 8:26 am

laura – exactly! you have to wonder sometimes!

FeminaErecta // Posted 30 November 2009 at 10:40 am

What a great event! We had a brilliant time, everyone was friendly and welcoming, the rally speakers were well informed and passionate (certainly made me think!) and great coveridge accross local news, are there going to be photos linked from the f word site? Please?

Laura // Posted 30 November 2009 at 2:42 pm

Yay! I don’t personally have any photos, but feel free to send links if you have any. BBC coverage of the march:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/8385246.stm

FeminaErecta // Posted 30 November 2009 at 3:44 pm

According to my grandma, we looked great on Calender news on Sunday night, unfortunatly when you go to the Calender website, the video of the news cuts out just before the actual story! You just hear him say ‘200 women have…’

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