October 26 saw the 10th anniversary of the Reclaim the Night march, coordinated by the London Feminist Network. Read our report by Susuana Antubam, ULU's Women's Officer.
Saturday 26 October 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of London Reclaim the Night, the annual women-only march against male violence. This iconic event was a great opportunity to amplify the voices of women on campuses across London on the topic of sexual harassment and violence against student women.
The University of London Union Women’s campaign hosted a student women intersectional panel at ULU before the march. I opened the evening by talking about the importance of building student women’s voices into the mainstream narrative of the fight to end violence against women.
On the panel I was proud to be joined by Kelley Temple, NUS National Women's Officer, Subira Wahogo & Holly-Rae from the famous feminist vlog Those Pesky Dames, NUS Women's Campaign committee Trans Rep Ginger Drage, President of KCL Intersectional Feminist Society Shanice Octavia McBean and Toni Mac from the Sex Worker Open University.
As well as talking about how different oppressions intersect with sexual abuse, such as class, racism, and transphobia, there were many comments on how previous Reclaim the Night marches had not been a safe space for all women and what we must do to change this. Ginger spoke about how as a feminist community we should not be neutral in the fight against trans-exclusive radical feminists who have taken part in endangering the lives of many trans women. Toni Mac also talked about the violence, stigma and criminalisation which sex worker face and the history of the relationship between negative sex workers and London Reclaim the Night.
At the end of the panel, there was an open discussion about our experiences of sexism in the streets and on our campus and how we would like to see future marched and demonstrations being more accessible and inclusive. There was a fantastic energy and sense of sisterhood in the room which one could only compare to that feeling of empowerment you get at NUS Women’s Conference.
I was proud to see an energetic bloc of students leading the march with amazing chants such as “R-E-S-P-E-C-T Intersectionality!” behind ULU Women’s Campaign banner. Together, we shouted our message loud and clear through central London. The message was the fight to end violence against women must have intersectionality at its heart, because as the late writer and activist Audre Lorde once noted: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”