Reclaim The Night 2013 recap

Trigger warning as this piece references r*, sexual assault and victim blaming.

This year’s Reclaim The Night (RTN) was an inspiring night of rallying, marching and local talent. Last friday night, women-identifying people came together at Queen’s Park to hear speakers turn the tables on victim blaming with tips like “How Not To Rape – men, carry whistles to alert others you’re going to rape! And remember to stay in packs!”.

Hear Kara de Groot explain more about this year’s RTN on 4zzz.fm.

Despite the police weirdly making everyone hurry up through the march (apparently they only had a half an hour window to escort the march…), and a few randoms who decided to walk through the rally, the night was full of both celebration of being women who will not stand for violence in our society and respect and remembrance of those we have lost to sexual violence. We chanted “Blame the system, not the victim”, “Not the Church, Not the State, Let Women Decide Their Fate” and “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe, don’t touch me I’m not your baby!” down the streets of the CBD to applause from onlookers and touchingly, male allies who welcomed us back to Queen’s Park.  Speakers included those from the RTN Collective, Senator Claire Moore and the UQWC’s own Madeline Price, who shared the following evocative beat poem:

I should not fear
four little words I repeat
backed by blasting dubstep beat
that echoes from the club
that I just left

I should not fear
walking our shared streets
the police on the beat
there to protect me
from your drunken hands
and broken minds

I should not fear
our public places
our private spaces
our university campuses
our schools
our homes
and the willingness of the public
to attribute blame

I should not fear
persecution for walking at night
objectification if my skirts too tight
this slut-shaming
victim-blaming
women-hating
society
that I was born into

I should not fear
that I am seen as a piece of meat
rather than the person within.

A big shout out goes to the Brisbane RTN Collective, who made this year’s rally and march a smash success. The t-shirts and badges made were amazingly designed and the night was well organised.

The UQ Women’s Collective led the march – a spontaneous decision made because we had the largest banner! Below are a few of my photos of the night plus a photo of the t-shirts from the RTN Collective facebook page (please don’t use these pictures without my permission or credit – email uqwnews@gmail.com first.

If you’d like to get involved with next year’s Brisbane Reclaim The Night, you can find out more info here.

~ Emma Di Bernardo

Thanks to Madeline Price and Kara de Groot for sharing their work for this post.

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Reclaim the Night; my experiences, thoughts and opinions

Trigger Warning: contains references to sexual violence, marijuana and foul language.

Reclaim the Night, a march for the end of sexual violence against women, was held on October 26th (I know, it has taken me a while to write this). And, being both a member of the UQ Wom*n’s Collective, and a woman, I attended – banding together with other like-minded women against the horrific onslaught of sexual violence that is directed towards women worldwide.

Granted, I have been in marches before, so I understood that they are not always well received by the general public (particularly since this one blocked the roads of Brisbane’s CBD), but I was astounded by the arrogance and ignorance of some people in the City that night. For instance, we had a group of young girls (just a point here, 1 in 3 women will be a victim/survivor of sexual violence in her lifetime) mock march with us, taking photos and laughing like we were demonstrating for the legalisation of marijuana, not against sexual violence. Similarly, I was cat-called, yelled at to ‘Show us your tits’ and told that ‘sexual violence isn’t a big issue’, all by males lining the streets.

Now, I admit, we had immense support from males and females alike, but it is these few members of society, those who don’t care enough, who don’t think it is ‘an issue’, who can’t be bothered to learn about one of the biggest causes in Australia today, they ruin it for everyone, and they give all those not marching a pretty bad name.

So when I post this link on Facebook, and inevitably receive the comments of ‘Oh, so you’re saying all men are potential rapists’, and ‘We know, men are just the scum of the Earth’, and ‘Isn’t feminism just women dominating men’, please know that I am not directing these comments at you personally, I am directing them at those people (see, I didn’t say ‘men’ or ‘males’, I said ‘people’, because it can be anyone) who cat-call, who rape, who sexually violate without consent. Those people who harm, who don’t believe in equality (specifically gender equality in this instance), who call our Prime Minister a ‘whore’, who use violence to solve altercations, who mistreat women.

That, is who I am aiming my comments at.

~ Madeline Price (see more at my blog).

Reclaim The Night 2011

Article and photos by Emma Di.

Friday, the 28th of October was Reclaim The Night in Brisbane for 2011 – and it was amazing. Reclaim The Night is a global women’s protest against men’s sexual violence held on the last Friday in October each year, organised by each city’s local RTN collective.

This year, women, children and men gathered in Brisbane Square at 6.30 for a rally, where some wonderful womyn spoke about their issues, experiences and causes related to sexual violence. We heard heart-wrenching statistics about sexual violence against those who have a mental disability and those who die due to domestic sexual violence, but also listened to inspiring poems from a local Indigenous woman and uplifting speeches from the Minister of Women. At 7.30 (or around about then!), women and children began their march over the Victoria Bridge, through South Bank and into West End.

It was great to be a part of; we had a big turn out, and to have bystanders cheering us on – including supportive men – really made Reclaim The Night feel as though we women were taking back the streets. Quite a few of us girls from the UQ Women’s Collective went, along with some of our friends from the QUT collective, showing our support loud and proud. Have fun looking at the photos!

~ Emma Di