After the Reclaim The Night march and rally in Dundee on December 3, I will be continuing on the action with an overnight camp out. The intention is to question the perception that the night is not ‘safe’ for women – whether we’re walking home alone or working late into the evening.
While safety measures such as free night buses provided by clubs or ugly mug noticeboards can enable women to avoid violence to some extent – occupying public space is a way to confront the fear of violence directly. Camping outside is an act of defiance. By reclaiming the whole night I am proclaiming that I refuse to be intimidated by those who want to hurt, intimidate or ‘protect’ women. I declare myself a person in my own right and one who has as much business being outside at night as anyone else.
When we perpetuate the myth that sexual and gender based violence can be avoided, we place the responsibility on victims of violence rather than those who commit acts of violence. We force survivors to overanalyse their own actions – their route home, their choice of dress – rather than facing up to the scary fact that we can never truly protect ourselves from violence, because violence is a choice made by someone else.
If someone does try to attack me I’ll put a shout out on social media and publicly shame whoever invaded my tent or my body. I may call the police too, but I’m not convinced the police are best placed to handle gender-based violence. If I die, which is highly unlikely, it will be because of someone else’s prejudice. Either way, the night will be reclaimed. And I will have existed, unafraid.
Reclaim The Night, Dundee
Annual march and rally to reclaim the city streets for women. Bring your own banner. Thursday, December 3, 6pm. City Square, Dundee. Free
Words: Ana Hine
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