Women in the UK took to the streets this Saturday the annual Reclaim the Night March, organized by the London Feminist Network. Hotness.
Jess McCabe at the f-word reports that 1500 women gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest violence against women and sexual assault:
We were protesting against the epidemic levels of violence against women – against rape, domestic violence, and against the mentality that in order to protect ourselves from these threats, we should half live our lives, afraid to walk the streets, or wear what we want, or do what we want.
But, despite how serious these issues are, despite the impact they have had on us, our friends and our families (almost inevitably, if you consider that one in four UK women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime), the atmosphere in our bit of the crowd was joyful.
Awesome. I always have felt that the marches/protests I’ve been to for women’s rights–whether the protest was about violence against women, racism, or reproductive rights–they really do always seem to be joyful. (Feminists know how to party protest, I guess!)
Julie Bindel at The Guardian, who was a speaker at the event, has a call for action for “armchair feminists”:
…I do still believe that direct action can have an effect. It is 37 years now since feminists threw flour bombs during the Miss World final at London’s Albert Hall, an action that ended that competition’s unquestioned popularity. Then there were the successes of the group Justice for Women, founded in 1990: we would gather outside the Home Office or the Old Bailey in our lunch hours carrying fold-up placards and banners. Whenever a man got away with murdering his partner on the grounds of her “nagging”, or a rapist was given a non-custodial sentence, there we would be, rain or shine. And guess what? Editors took note, articles were written and our issues were discussed.
Bindel seems concerned that the advent of online organizing takes away from the warm bodies at in person protests, but it seems to me that the two support each other. Just look at how many people were mobilized online to show up to the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.
But in all, it seems like the event was a super success and checking out some pictures certainly made me wish I was there!
Question for discussion: The march is a “woman-only” event; the London Feminist Network has their reasoning here. Is this a way to provide a safe space or is it just exclusionary? And who defines who “women” are? Is this like the Michigan Womynâ€™s Music Festival where trans women are shamefully excluded? (I have no idea what the LFN’s position is, I’m wondering aloud–if anyone knows, please educate my ass in comments.)