The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Reclaim the Night comes back to Manchester

Hundreds of women will take to the streets to fight for feminism and against violence against women

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‘Reclaim the Night’, a yearly women’s march in Manchester, is returning on the 22nd February to allow women to “raise their voices and unite their energies to stand up to street harassment, sexual violence and victim blaming.”

A survey conducted in 2011 suggested that there are an estimated 47,000 rapes a year in Britain, 40,000 attempted rapes and 300,000 sexual assaults, with figures rising to this day.

However, only 5.3 per cent of those accused are convicted, with the rest not reported or not taken to court.

In 2005, More conducted a survey that found that 95 per cent of women in the UK do not feel safe walking on the streets at night, with 73 per cent worried about being raped.

‘Reclaim the Night’, which has been held in Manchester since 1977, will start at Owen’s Park at seven P.M. and will proceed along Oxford Road until nine P.M., with an after-party in the Students’ Union in Manchester Academy. The event started due to a spate of attacks in Fallowfield in previous years.

Last year, there was a new addition to the campaign with a ‘Muslim Block’. Saffa Mir, the Students’ Union Community Officer in 2016 has inspired Hana Jafar to carry on the additional section once again.

Speaking to The Mancunion, Hana Jafar said: “I decided to lead it this year because being part of it as a Muslim woman was incredibly empowering.

“Minority groups and marginalised women in particular need safe and inclusive spaces to have our voices heard. With the state of gender based violence and Islamophobia affecting visibly Muslim women, we need these spaces more than ever.”

A new addition to the march this year will include a ‘pro-choice block’, which follows after the abortion rights campaign which took place in Manchester last year. Manchester City Council have also placed a ban on anti-abortion protests in Fallowfield after deeming them “more aggressive and militant that before.”

Women who choose to participate in the ‘pro-choice block’ at the event will aim to call out on misogynistic oppression and suppress the abuse, sexual harassment and unwanted attention from men. Men are welcome at the event but asked to remain separated from women in order to respect the nature of their protest.