Sexual assault is unfortunately all too common in our world and has been for far too long. These disgusting acts have somehow wormed their way into our society and made themselves appear as “just another thing that happens” allowing many members of our world to become numb to the stories we hear, but there are people standing up to it and the people who commit these acts. It’s a scary concept, standing up and saying ‘no’ for the people who are unable to say it themselves, but the women at Geelong Reclaim the Night are doing exactly that.
Reclaim the Night is a feminist movement that began in Belgium in 1976 when women who had truly had enough of the sexual assault that was taking place on their streets took it upon themselves to say ‘enough is enough’ and reclaim those same streets.
Every year on the last Friday of October, these women can be found protesting passionately for the safety of women all across the world. In 1978 the movement had made its way to Australia and the first Reclaim the Night candlelit protest took place. Since then, the feminist movement has grown from simply sexual assault to all forms of violence against women.
To ensure that there is no confusion: feminism is the radical idea that women are people too. It is not a term that refers to man-hating women, but rather women who merely want all women to be seen as equals all around the world. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t fully understand the movement.
We were lucky enough to speak with Nancy Donkers about the group Reclaim the Night Geelong which she is a part of and all of the wonderful work that they are doing for the women and children of Geelong.
‘Reclaim the Night Geelong is a group that is entirely funded by the good will of others. Over the years, they have partnered with different organisations to achieve different goals. One of these achievements that can be found down by the Barwon River, not too far from Shannon Avenue, is the Women’s Place of Peace where many of the events that are run by Reclaim the Night Geelong take place. It is a place in which to honour the survivors of sexual assault and family violence, and women who have fought for the rights of women and children to be safe in our world. Reclaim the Night Geelong has grown to a month of action leading up to Reclaim the Night on Friday 27th October 2017.
Four other events for Reclaim the Night Geelong are taking place over the next few months. On the 20th of April from 7-9pm is ‘Inviting Feminists – Herstory Our Story’. It is part of a series looking from the past to the future of feminism that all women and children are welcome to attend.
If you are interested in attending you are invited to RSVP by Tuesday, April 18, by phone: 0424 330 778 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future events in the year include:
‘Challenges of Our Complex World’ on Thursday, June 22, 7-9pm,
‘Embracing The Challenge – Connections, Sustaining Self, Challenging’ on Thursday, August 24, 7-9pm, and
‘Informing Our Future’ on Thursday, November 2, 7-9pm.
For more information on any of these nights, as well as the group themselves, please visit www.reclaimthenightgeelong.org.au or www.facebook.com/Geelong-Reclaim-The-Night-616809978460466/ their facebook page.
Reclaim the Night: Written by Gemma Nicholls.
Photo: Nancy at @Vitality Café with the painting by the Anglesea Art Group. ‘Connection’ – Ancient Wisdom all around me and within me if I listen.