On Wednesday 23rd November, the Feminist Society and LGBT+ will march together from 8 pm, preceding an afterparty that will culminate at the usual 2 am, in protest of sexual violence.
Sadly, the issue of sexual violence and slut shaming is often stigmatised or not talked about. Many pose the questions of, why are these issues so important? Why do we have to do this? How will this march help?
This happens everywhere. Last week in St Andrews, two students at the University were punched and left on the street outside our very own Dervish simply because they asked a “drunken idiot” to stop harassing a girl. This happened in the evening, on a main street in the safe town of St Andrews.
The event hopes that the march will stop ‘telling people how they can avoid being raped, and start telling people not to rape’. The sense of community, togetherness and support will help raise awareness of just how much of an issue sexual violence is, as well as influence the idea that you are not alone if you ever find yourself in one of these horrible situations.
The Feminist Society tells us: “Sexual assault is a serious reality for people around the world and including St Andrews. The Reclaim the Night March exists not only to raise awareness on sexual assault but to also show survivors that we stand in solidarity. This year, we are excited to be working the Saints LGBT+ to widen the discussion on making the night safer for all people.”
By joining the event you will be helping the safety of St Andrews and victims of sexual violence, in a show of courage, determination and effort to make a change. First year Officer of the Feminist Society, Taylor Hendrickson, lays out the history and the issues associated with sexual violence:
“For a long time, sexual violence was seen as something perpetrated by strangers. It was a crime of silence, in that many survivors did not speak out for fear of stigmatisation and backlash. During the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, feminists began to address the issue of sexual violence in protests and through the creation of crisis centres and hotlines. Starting in the 1990s and early 2000s, the movement shifted to focus on date rape and sexual violence on college & university campuses. Additionally, the movement has become more intersectional, acknowledging that people of colour, men, and LGBTQIA+ individuals experience sexual violence differently than white women (who are often the spotlight) do. Social media has also changed the game by spreading stories like the Stanford case and by creating hashtags. However, it’s important to note that this is just the history of the anti-sexual violence movement in Western countries like the US and UK. The movement is very different in other parts of the world because the experience of, social attitudes around, and laws concerning sexual violence vary greatly.”
90% of rape survivors are female, therefore the prevention of sexual violence is often targeted at women. However, let us not forget that sexual violence does not just involve women. ‘Reclaim the Night’ encourages men to stand up; whether you are a victim or in support of someone else. Similarly, it is not just heterosexual relationships where sexual violence appears to tackle. To this end, the LGBT+ Society are also joining the event to highlight that the issue also prevails in homosexual relationships.
Please march to show your support tomorrow evening. This is vital for the community, victims and those in need of support. Remember that you do not have to be a member of either of these societies in order to join the march.