Why ‘Reclaim the Night’ is trending after Sarah Everard’s disappearance

Clara Hill@clara_ish
Thursday 11 March 2021 11:51
news

“Reclaim the Night” has been dominating Twitter trends since Sarah Everard disappeared in south London.

Everard was last spotted around 9 pm on 3rd March, after visiting her friend in Clapham and was walking home in Brixton. A Metropolitan police officer has been arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnap.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Met police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said Everard’s disappearance as “every family’s worst nightmare” but highlighted to Londoners, that “it was incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.”

“But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public will - particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing - will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”

Following the news, police have reportedly suggested that women should not go out at night, provoking some social media users to express the innate injustice of women altering their behaviour, limiting freedom and agency to prevent attacks, instead of focusing on the actions of the perpetrators of these crimes.

This has raised questions about what Reclaim the Night is. It is a protest movement organised by the London Feminist Network, first taking place in 1977 after the murders of the Yorkshire Ripper prompted police to inform women to not go out at night. Examples of signs featured during these protests included “No Curfew on Women - Curfew on Men”

The movement is about women not changing their habits to appease gender-based violence.

In light of the horrific events surrounding Sarah Everard’s story, there have been calls to have another Reclaim the Night protest. However, due to measures caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, organisers have arranged an event called “Reclaim These Streets” which will be a socially distanced vigil on Clapham Common with attendees urged to wear masks and stand six feet away from each other.

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