AN EVENING march taking place on International Women’s Day is seeking to ‘reclaim the night’, to raise awareness for gender-based violence and night-time safety in Southampton.
The event, arranged by Solent Students’ Union, is aimed at empowering those who may feel vulnerable or scared when walking though the parks in Southampton city centre.
The march will take place on Wednesday 8th March 2023, starting at The Spark at Solent University and ending in Hogland’s Park. The route will follow pavements through the parks in Southampton city centre and will last approximately one hour.
The event will start at 4pm in The Spark where a sign making workshop will take place to be used during the march and free hot drinks will be served to anyone attending, followed by the march starting at 7pm through the local parks to raise awareness for women’s safety.
Empowering speeches from special guests will open and close the event. Southampton City Council and local authorities are also supporting the event.
Members of the public, students and allies are welcome to join the event. If you wish to attend the event, you can register your free place here.
Steph Stangroom, VP Wellbeing, and Stefania David, VP Education, are running a joint campaign to target gender-based violence in the local area. They have been leading on the event and are encouraging all students and local residents to take part and stand up for making our parks safer.
Steph said: “Enough is enough. From unwanted comments and stalking, sexual assaults and rape, these are just some of the reasons women are scared to walk through the parks at night.
“It’s not fair that many women feel the need to protect themselves at night through the use of personal alarms, ringing people on the way home, location sharing with friends, and so much more. Our parks should be safe, not scary.
Stefania said: “The march is a show of strength and a collective demand for freedom from sexual violence, domestic abuse, street harassment, rape culture, victim blaming and all forms of violence against women.
“The short walk will be an opportunity to really show solidarity with women and girls everywhere, that we will not stand for violence in our communities, and we encourage everyone – from students to members of the public, charities to local businesses – to join us in our stance to reclaim the night.”
Vice-Chancellor for Solent University, Professor Karen Stanton, said: “This is an incredibly important event with a powerful message around increasing night-time safety in our city centre.
“Southampton is a great city for our students, with so much to see, explore and learn during their time here. It is vital that student safety is one of our top priorities, and Southampton streets and parks are safe for all, especially in the late evening and during the night.”
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.
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