Local Organisations and Reclaim the Night
It is important to us that Bristol RTN represents organisations in Bristol. We are in touch with local women’s group and victim support organisations to inform the three aims of Bristol Reclaim the Night. We use RTN to raise the profiles of local organisations and add strength to their campaigns.
If you or your organisation has suggestions to bring to RTN, or if we can promote your campaign, please get in touch so that we can work together.
Thank you to the following groups for their statements of support for Reclaim the Night:
Bristol Amnesty Group
Amnesty International has campaigned since 2004 against the ‘hidden’ violence that affects women and girls. It does so on the basis that living in safety is a universal right, not a privilege, for women everywhere. Women have been shown to suffer disproportionately from violence, with the crimes being ignored and rarely properly punished.
In the UK there are some very sad statistics about the response to violence and rape. For example, in a poll conducted for Amnesty in 2005, 33% of British people thought that a woman would be partially responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy clothes, flirting or had been drinking. The rape conviction rate in the UK is around 5% and one of the lowest in Europe. People’s attitudes and the low conviction rate have been shown to directly affect the likelihood of women reporting rape.
The answer to crimes against women is not for women to be prevented from, or blamed for, enjoying leisure activities. Nor is the answer for women to live under a curfew, be excluded from public space, provided with segregated spaces 'for their safety' or escorted by men.
Changing attitudes is very important. Reclaim the Night looks set to be a positive and peaceful initiative, which the Bristol Group of Amnesty will be happy to develop and support alongside the Bristol Feminist Network.
Victim Support Avonvale
Victim Support Avonvale is delighted to be participating in the Bristol Reclaim The Night event. We are already working in partnership within the Bristol Rape and Sexual Violence strategy group to look at effective ways to ensure better safety for women both on the streets and in their homes. As an organisation working with victims of crime, we want to ensure that Bristol is a safe area where women of all ages and all backgrounds can walk around, use public transport and feel confident about their personal safety and personal space at all times.
Bristol Women's Forum
The Women's Forum is delighted that the Reclaim the Night march is taking place in Bristol. When listening to women in the community at our open meetings, safety and education on relationships, sexual violence and respect remain a priority for women - there had also been many women wishing for a Reclaim the Night event to make this point. As a group that has lobbied the Council for many years on safety, support and services for victims of violence and sexual abuse, we fully endorse your aims and feel privileged to support it.
Bristol Fawcett Society
Bristol Fawcett Society is committed to actively supporting the Bristol Reclaim the Night event to be held on 20th February 2009. Bristol Fawcett is a local group of the national Fawcett Society which campaigns for equality between women and men in the UK on pay, pensions, poverty, justice and politics.
Over the last few years Bristol Fawcett has worked with others to improve local services for women affected by sexual violence and members are delighted to join this initiative by the Bristol Feminist Network to collectively take to the streets and demand our rights to walk out on the streets safely, day or night. Taking part in a Reclaim the Night vigil and march is an empowering activity which tells the world – largely still a ‘man’s (or patriarchal) world - that women do not accept the status, identities and limitations placed upon us and that when we take action together we are a strong and active force.
One25 fully supports the aims of Reclaim the Night and are proud to be participating in the event again this year. We too believe that everyone deserves to be safe from violence on our streets and that everyone deserves the same high level of support if they are attacked, regardless of their personal background.
The majority of the sex-working women that One25 support were abused as children and continue to suffer from sexual and physical violence in their adult lives. In 2009, female street sex-workers in Bristol reported 173 violent attacks against them to the One25 team. Many of these attacks were rapes, including several horrific incidences of rape with weapons and gang rapes. We strongly suspect that many more incidences of violence go unreported.
One25 have helped these vulnerable women to report such attacks to the police and to the Bridge and this has led to an increase in convictions. Bristol now has the second highest reporting and conviction rates for violence against sex-workers in the country. We applaud the courage of these women in coming forward and seeking justice, we value the sensitivity and dignity with which local agencies treat them and we fully endorse the aims of Reclaim the Night in highlighting the need for safety and respect for all.
The Bridge, Bristol’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre
Reclaiming the Night is an event where all members of community can come together to acknowledge the impact of sexual violence. It is an event that promotes the notion that the night ‘should’ be a safe time for all.