Reclaiming the Night

Samaritans CEO

On Friday evening thousands of women across Australia took to the streets as part of a global protest for women’s rights to be free from sexual violence and abuse. Reclaim the Night is steeped in tradition since it first began in Belgium in 1976 by a group of women protesting the ways in which violence permeates the lives of women worldwide. Organised by women and for women, the movement quickly spread across the world, giving women a platform to demand an end to all forms of violence against them and their children.

Women march in solidarity to take back the night– highlighting an important message that no woman is ever to blame for male violence against her.  Almost every week one woman is killed by a current or former partner and one in five women experience sexual violence in their lifetime.  The safety of a woman should never be jeopardised or questioned based on who they are with, where they are or what they are wearing.  It is a woman’s right to live free from fear of violence or sexual assault.  However, these statistics disappointingly reflect otherwise.  Australia still has a long way to go in the fight to end violence against women.

Initiatives such as Reclaim the Night are bittersweet.  On one hand they do a fantastic job in continuing the fight for justice and reversing a culture that condones violence against women.  On the other hand, it serves as stark reminder that we live in a world where women must still protest their rights.  A world where every woman feels safe and respected is well overdue and a right that never should have been denied to women in the first place.