'Reclaim the Night' march planned in powerful stance for improved night-time safety in Southampton


‘Reclaim the Night’ march planned in powerful stance for improved night-time safety in Southampton

Solent Students’ Union (Solent SU) are ‘reclaiming the night’ this International Women’s Day, by raising awareness of gender-based violence and night-time safety in Southampton. 

The event, which involves an evening march, is aimed at empowering those who may feel vulnerable or scared when walking though the parks in Southampton city centre, especially during the night. 

The march will take place on Friday 8th March 2024, starting from The Spark at Solent University and ending in Hogland’s Park. The route will follow pavements through the parks, lasting approximately one hour.

The event will start from 12pm, where there will be a sign making workshop in The Spark.

Empowering speeches from special guests, including local DJ Gemma Edwards and Olivia George will open the event at 6.30pm in The Spark. Free hot drinks and food will be served to anyone attending.

The march will begin at 7pm, with an afterparty at Mettricks Guildhall taking place shortly after the march ends.

Members of the public, students and allies are welcome to join the event. The march route is accessible. If you wish to attend the event, you can register your free place at www.solentsu.co.uk

Chloe Griggs, the Night Life Officer at Solent SU said: “As a current student at Solent University, I believe this is an incredibly important event that is crucial for spreading a powerful message around increasing night-time safety in Southampton.

“For many students, including myself, feeling safe in the place where we have chosen to study should be a top priority. I don’t believe it’s right that any female-identifying students feel unsafe walking home from campus late at night or going out clubbing when it’s busy. It’s never been more important than right now that we make sure Southampton streets and parks are safe for everyone.

“The march is a show of strength and determination - we will demand freedom from sexual violence, domestic abuse, street harassment, rape culture, victim blaming and all forms of violence against women and girls.”

Jignesh Kiree, Vice President of Wellbeing at Solent SU, said: “We need to act now. Our students, especially those who identify as female, should not fear walking through the parks at night. It’s having a direct impact on their wellbeing, and we say enough is enough. We are encouraging everyone – from students and members of the public, to charities and local businesses – join us as we reclaim the night on Friday 8th March.

“As we walk on International Women’s Day, we stand with all the women and girls, who have not been taken seriously, violated, or abused. We will not stand for this in our community – our students deserve better.”

Reclaim the Night came to the UK over 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 that women stay at home after dark in response to the Peter Sutcliffe (Yorkshire Ripper) murders.

Solent SU believes that every student at Solent University should feel safe while studying in Southampton. Solent SU are encouraging all students and local residents to take part and stand up for making our parks safer.

This is a trans* inclusive event. There is no age limit for the event, although anyone under the age of 18 must attend with a parent/guardian. More information on the event can be found at www.solentsu.co.uk