Reclaim The Night – Some General Thoughts

This is a slightly edited version of a post that appeared on our blog in response to a Sheffield RTN last year. We feel our criticisms are still highly relevant to other marches and events being organised this year and every year, so are sharing it again. 

It is always encouraging to see other feminist events organised, but LaDIYfest feels it is important to be aware of the wider issues and criticisms that are often overlooked – Reclaim The Night marches have a disappointing history of being transphobic through an emphasis on biological identity, unwelcoming to male carers and aggressive towards sex workers through picketing, spitting outside clubs and shouting demeaning chants. While we appreciate that every RTN march has different focuses and inclusion policies, we still feel that using the name causes an unfortunate association to histories that cannot and should not be forgotten.

The RTN movement largely perpetuates the outdated and inaccurate myth of stranger danger, that nighttime and public spaces are the biggest risk to women (we note this is not exclusive to women, but also to individuals of many other genders and identities) by skirting around the fact that the majority of gender based violence against women and individuals happens in domestic situations by men and people known to them, and often completely failing to acknowledge how the risks for sex workers are vastly increased. Putting sex workers to the fore is something that has been asked of RTN across the country, year after year, and even when there has been acknowledgment that being aggressive towards sex workers or picketing strip clubs on the marches is a bad tactic, that, and slut-shaming, has still happened and been experienced by LaDIYs attending marches. By ignoring these narratives, and not being direct and clear in taking a stance against them, the movement fails to address any of the more pertinent and intersectional issues facing individuals today.

More can read on the following links:
http://www.counterfire.org/news/16835-women-reclaim-the-night-in-london
http://www.feministfightback.org.uk/?p=207

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is 25th of November.

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