Reclaim The Night march against gender based violence to take place in Galway

The upcoming march in Galway follows a similar Reclaim the Night event which took place in Dublin last week.

Close up of feet walking at night

The Feminist Society of NUIG, along with a number of other local women’s rights groups, are organising a Reclaim the Night march against gender-based violence, commencing tonight in Eyre Square, Galway, at 7.30pm.

This comes after the growing mobilisation around men’s violence against women since the murder of Ashling Murphy and the multiple other attacks on women in public spaces that have been publicised since. Vigils took place all around the country following the murder in January, however feminist activists want to make sure that the issue does not fade from public attention. The upcoming march in Galway follows a similar Reclaim the Night event which took place in Dublin last week.

Another major motivation behind the march is the recent research launched by the Higher Education Authority on the experience of sexual violence and harassment in third level institutions. The report revealed that over one in three female students had experienced rape. Furthermore, just 8% of female students and 12% of non-binary students felt safe while socialising at night in their college, compared to 68% of male students.

Just 51% of women said they felt safe from sexual violence and harassment when socialising on or around campus during the day. Thus, despite common perceptions of what is dangerous for women, e.g., walking at night, this research suggests that public spaces do not feel safe to all women, even during the day.

It is commonly asserted that it is a tiny percentage of men who are creating an unsafe atmosphere for women, however there is reason to question this narrative. Research produced by the University of Kent in 2021 found that over one in nine male university students admitted to committing an act of rape, sexual assault or sexual coercion in the last two years.

Although the Feminist Society is a student-run organisation, it is abundantly clear that this issue extends for beyond university communities.  The 2021 UN Women UK YouGov survey found that 80% of women aged 18-34 had experienced sexual harassment in public. In Ireland, research from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre found that 75% of respondents had experienced sexual harassment, with 60% of those having experienced it in the workplace.

It is important to remember that behind each of these statistics are real women whose lives are hindered by the threat and experience of gender-based violence. It is thus clear that freedom from men’s violence is something we have to fight for. The Reclaim the Night movement began in response to gender-based violence in the 1970’s, yet women are still facing these same issues today. It is often hard to imagine an end to an issue that is so persistent, but coming together in collective action has to be a first step.

For a further discussion on the issue of gender based violence, read GCN Issue 370 here.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.