Women hitting Sheffield streets in bid to reclaim nights

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PROTESTERS are to take to the streets of Sheffield in a new campaign to highlight the threat of violence against women.

The Reclaim the Night March was first held in the late 1970s, when the city was gripped by fear of the Yorkshire Ripper.

Now, after a 15-year break, the march will be held again on Friday, November 30, organised by volunteers with the support of several groups, including Sheffield University Students’ Union.

Marchers will congregate outside Sheffield Cathedral at 7pm and make their way through the city centre to a rally at the union on Western Bank at 8.30pm.

The rally will feature speakers including anti-street harassment group Hollaback! Sheffield, Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service, and feminist campaigner and author Kat Banyard.

The march is open to women only, plus male carers and dependants of attendees, though the rally is open to all.

Laura Woodhouse, march
organiser, said: “Sheffield is a great place for a night out, but sadly too many women’s nights are ruined by men who harass or grope us.

“Society tells us it’s our fault when this happens – because we were wearing a short skirt, were drunk, or were on our own – but women are never to blame when someone chooses to intimidate or assault us.”

She said the level of support for convicted rapist and former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans had highlighted attitudes to sexual assault.

She said: “Some Sheffield residents sadly seem to think being drunk is the same as giving consent to sex and that’s a dangerous message that puts women across the city at risk.”