Reclaim the Night: Blackpool women issue call to action

Women, children and male allies will be marching through the streets of Blackpool town centre on Friday evening (9th Dec) to Reclaim the Night.

Reclaim the Night was a movement that began in Leeds in 1977 following the police response to the Yorkshire Ripper – instructing women to stay out of public spaces after dark. Women demanded that public spaces should be safe for anyone to be, irrelevant of gender, by joining together and marching through the streets after dark.

After the brutal murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021, the Metropolitan Police issued similar advice, leading to a second incarnation of the movement in which women set out to Reclaim These Streets. Protests have since taken place up and down the country demonstrating for an end to street harassment, rape and violence against women more broadly.

In Blackpool, women have been plotting their experiences of harassment on the streets and in public places on Reclaim Blackpool Map. There are now over 100 testimonies on the map, and three quarters of them describe incidents in Blackpool town centre, many of them in bars.

One 26-year-old woman describes being spiked in a bar on Queen Street this year. Another 24-year-old woman describes a case of indecent exposure on the Comedy Carpet.

“I was skateboarding with a group of friends,” she wrote. “A man walked straight up to me whilst exposing himself and masturbating. I was too shocked say anything at the time but it left me feeling extremely violated.”

The Reclaim the Night march on Friday aims is to raise awareness of women’s precarious safety, provide a space for women and girls to voice their concerns, as well as for the town to show their support for a kinder and safer community for everyone.

The march will begin at Upside Down cafe on Cedar Square at 6pm where there will be a range of speakers. Demonstrators will then set off towards the promenade, walking past the bars on Queen Street and elsewhere, and past the Comedy Carpet before heading back to Upside Down for refreshments.

Participants are encouraged to bring placards, banners and musical instruments as they join together to take a stand against male violence. The event is being organised by Empowerment charity, which is rolling out the It Stops Here campaign to end gender-based violence, backed by Blackpool Council and the Safer Streets fund.

Head to Eventbrite to put your name down for the march. Reclaim Blackpool will also be hosting an activism workshop for young people the following day (Saturday 10th Dec) at Aunty Social on Topping Street. Reserve your spot here.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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