Reclaim the Night to be held in Hamilton

RESURGENCE: Women take to the streets of Newcastle in 1995 for Reclaim the Night. This year it will be held at Gregson Park, Hamilton.
RESURGENCE: Women take to the streets of Newcastle in 1995 for Reclaim the Night. This year it will be held at Gregson Park, Hamilton.

THE annual Reclaim the Night march is about women taking back their right to be safe on the streets, and putting an end to sexual, relationship-based, and domestic violence. 

Organiser of the Newcastle march Jacinta Mortell is expecting this year’s event to be very well attended. 

“It’s a symbolic event about reclaiming the streets and reasserting our right to walk down the street safely without being assaulted,” Ms Mortell said. 

The march “stemmed from women experiencing violence” and its aim was to “spark conversation”, she said. 

The resurgence of interest in the march – which began in Belgium in 1978 – she attributes to the national campaign to end violence against women.

 “I believe it has had quite a big resurgence in Australia following the death of Jill Meagher in Melbourne,” she said.

“The idea that someone just going to the pub after work and then walking home could not even do that safely as a woman in this country really kick-started the movement again in Australia.”

This year in Australia (at the time of going to press), 39 women had been killed from Violence. In 2016 it was 73.

“There has been a lot of focus this year on different campaigns,” Ms Mortell said. 

“Obviously with the Australian Human Rights Commission report into sexual assault on campus, the staggering rates of sexual assault and violence against women at universities.”

“There has also been the Australian Services Union campaign to introduce 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave into national employment standards.

“A lot of women’s organisations, activists, feminists, have been doing a lot of work … so that these deaths aren’t in vain.

“One woman a week is dying at the hands of a partner, or former partner.” 

The march which will begin at Gregson Park, Hamilton, on October 27 at 6pm. 

It will begin with a welcome to country and speeches. The march will see women and their children walk down Beaumont Street, before returning to the park for entertainment, street stalls and food.

The whole community is invited to attend the park to show their support.