Reclaim the Night is a movement started in Leeds in 1977. Inspired by similar marches in West Germany, the Leeds marches were partly in response to the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders and the police reaction, which was to tell women they should not go out at night unless absolutely necessary. The initial Reclaim the Night marches fought for a woman’s right to walk without fear at night and testified that women should not be restricted or blamed because of men’s violence.
Eventually, the marches ceased around the 1990s until the organisation was revived in 2004. Over the years, although the focus remains on sexual violence, Reclaim the Night has evolved to include other forms of violence against women and children.
The Blue Mountains Takes a Stand
On Friday, 25 October 2019, I made my way to the old Katoomba library to gather with a very special group of people. There were women, men and children of all ages coming together to fight for their right to safety.
This is a topic that some may take lightly, mainly due to lack of exposure to the dangers that these people, or someone that these people love, may have experienced. Lack of empathy and understanding aside, I find it incredible that in 2018 we still don’t feel safe. The fears are still real and legit all over the world.
Marching down the street (or running in my case because I was taking photos) with this amazing group of people reminded me of just how real these fears are within me as well. Hearing their stories, I could feel their pain. I knew these people. I have met them before – not in reality but metaphysically. The words they spoke were so heavy and so relate-able that there were moments, very short moments, where my lens dropped from my face and I was taken back to a place I had not visited in a while.
The most inspiring moments of the evening, for me, were seeing the support among everyone. There were hugs and tears. There was acceptance and understanding. This was a truly safe space to be and that felt incredible.
Photos taken by Nina Lipscombe and Craig Renneberg
Later into the evening, my friend Craig and I captured some beautiful moments. So beautiful, in fact, that I decided they were a work of art all by themselves. Here are a few that were edited into watercolours.