Annual march to end violence against women moves online this year
- Credit: Archant
An annual demonstration aimed at ending violence against women and girls will take place online this year.
Hundreds of women and supporters have marched through Ipswich for Reclaim the Night events in the last two years.
Organisers have this year chosen to move the march online due to public health restrictions around large gatherings.
Issy Booth, helpline co-ordinator and volunteer for march organisers Suffolk Rape Crisis, a specialist service for women and girls subjected to sexual violence, said: “This year, we’ve seen women disproportionally affected by the global pandemic, so although we can’t take to the streets, it’s still important that we come together and reclaim online spaces to give women a voice.”
The country’s first Reclaim the Night march was held in Leeds, in 1977, in response to women being told to stay indoors and away from public spaces after dark while serial killer Peter Sutcliffe was at large.
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Annual marches now take place across the country, including in Ipswich, to demand the right to use public space without fear and bring an end to violence against women.
A ‘digital march’ will take place on Thursday, December 10, with supporters still able to display placards and hear from Suffolk-based activists.
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Suffolk Rape Crisis will also be hosting a programme of events throughout the annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence’ campaign, focussing on activism, self-care and violence against women.
During the beginning of lockdown earlier this year, suspected domestic abuse killings more than doubled across the UK – from an average of two a week to a total of 16 in three weeks – according to the Counting Dead Women project.
Amy Roch, director of Suffolk Rape Crisis, said: “This year, we have seen that the pandemic has left women less safe and more likely to be subjected to violence.
“Coronavirus hasn’t created violent men, but it has shone a light on the levels of violence that women face to on a daily basis. Reclaim the Night has never been more important.”
To see the programme of events and sign up for the march, visit srchelp.org.uk, where locally designed Christmas cards, T-shirts and tote bags are also available to buy.