Members of the Kent Labour Students and local Labour women’s network joined hundreds of people tonight on a night-time march around Canterbury as part of the Reclaim the Streets Campaign.
Reclaim the Night came to the UK 40 years ago, in 1977. One of the first marches took place in Leeds where women took to the streets to protest the police requesting women to stay at home after dark in response to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Since then marches have been organised around the UK to show solidarity and support for rape and sexual assault survivors. This cause is particularly pertinent this year following the hugely successful #MeToo campaign on social media.
Canterbury is largely a safe city but in 2016 4 cases os rape or violent attacks were reported to police in the St Stephens ward alone with young students often most at risk.
Local activist Helen Kirk said, “the recent incidents of rape and sexual assault in Canterbury, diminish women’s sense of safety and security in our own city. Reclaim the Night is about giving women a voice to show our solidarity with survivors of rape and to reinforce that women shouldn’t and won’t be cowed by the actions of a minority. Telling women ‘not to go out’ is not the answer, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are the ones who need moving off our streets, not half the populations of our cities”