“Any woman can become a victim of sexual assault and/or domestic violence—violence knows no geographical, socio-economic, age, ability, cultural or religious boundaries.” Time for Action: The National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2009-2021
Reclaim the Night (RTN) is a global women’s protest against men’s sexual violence held on the last Friday in October each year. In some countries it is known as Take Back the Night.
RTN began in Australia in 1978, however, the movement commenced two years earlier in the United Kingdom (UK). In 1976 10,000 women and children in the UK marched through the streets as a reaction to around 16,000 reported rapes that year. The following year women marched in protest of the police warning that women should not go out at night because of the ‘Ripper’ murders. They took to the streets to demand “the right to move freely in their communities at day and night without harassment and sexual assault”. Today in Australia we continue to march for the same reasons. We will continue to march until women are safe from violence on the streets, in their homes and within institutions.
Each year in Canberra RTN is held in Garema Place. There is music, dance, food, speakers and the march. From 2010-2013 WCHM had the great honour to coordinate RTN, which is typically coordinated by the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC). With volunteers from CRCC and other ACT-based women’s services we hosted four diverse and dynamic events. You can check out the images from each of these events below.