Reclaim the Night is women-led event fighting for the right of all women and children to be out on the street and public places without fear or threat of violence. It is an annual event worldwide and in Australia it is held on the last Friday of October each year.
In Australia, the first Reclaim the Night march was held in 1978. These were held in Sydney and Perth. Melbourne held its first Reclaim the Night March in 1979 and it was organised by volunteers connected to Melbourne’s first Rape Crisis Centre.
Internationally, women and supporters have been marching for Reclaim the Night since 1977, with Britain having 11 cities hold marches in 1977. Rome followed later in 1977, and then there were protests in Bombay, South of France and Dublin in 1978. These marches were the response to gang rapes and the verbal abuse and intimidation women were facing in the streets at the time. These events were also called Take Back the Night. The US followed from this, holding marches in San Francisco in the same year.
Reclaim the Night has joined in the feminist revolution and created a public space for women to march, dance, and speak out for a world without sexual violence. It was a big showy public reaction to the idea that women should stay home after dark to be safe, or that we need a man to protect us and steer us through the dangers of the night.
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