Reclaim the night: Cardiff calls for end to violence against women

The participants took to the streets of Cardiff, hoping to spark a conversation and shine a spotlight on sexual violence.

People hold a peaceful walk in Cardiff city centre on White Ribbon Day, the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Students and members of the public carrying placards took to the streets of Cardiff city center last Saturday night to call for violence against women to end.

The crowd participated the Reclaim the Night walk because gender-based violence and abuse remain a huge issue in Wales, hoping to start a conversation about them.

“These walks are still happening across the UK, but Wales doesn’t have one. So, it’s about making sure that politicians in Wales knew that we do care. We need to be protected,” said Molly Fenton, the organiser of the walk.

Daisy Tipping deliveres the speech calling attention to sexual violence.

According to Rape Crisis England and Wales, 1 in 4 women have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult, and 1 in 6 children have been sexually abused.

“Violence against women is often taken as a fact of life. The walk can make sure people are thinking about this being wrong,” said Daisy Tipping, Cardiff University Women’s Officer. “There also needs to be more preventative measures in universities to make sure men don’t sexually assault.”

“It’s not just about being safe at night. It’s about being safe in the day as well,” Hope Sanders said.

It is prevalent that women feel unsafe walking alone after dark, whether in a busy public space or in a quiet street near their home. “If I’m by myself, I won’t feel safe going out at night. Even at 5 pm, it is still scary. We deserve to feel safe and have fun,” said Mia Ross, a student at Cardiff University, who participated the walk.

Girls can experience harassment at a very young age. Hope Sanders, a high school student, shared her experience. “I was first catcalled was I was 11. And when I went to London with my mom, within the span of five minutes, she was catcalled twice,” said she. “I don’t think the problem is making it safer for women but more about educating young boys to respect women.”

Daisy emphasized the importance of ending rape culture and called for men to take the respinsibility. “There are so many rape jokes that men will kind of just be like, HAHA. Men will often let something slide off even if they don’t realize that they’re doing it,” said she.

“We plan on these walks every two to three months until change happens whilst also campaigning to make change on a Welsh Government level,” said Molly Fenton.

Several male university students also joined the walk alongside the women. “Being assaulted in the student residence is ridiculous but exists,” said Nathan Mintz, a student at Cardiff University. “Even if it’s not something I face, I think it’s just basic human decency to support someone who is going through something like this.”

Violence against women and girls is not only a women’s issue. “It’s everyone’s duty, man or woman, whatever your gender, to get involved. Women’s issues are not just the suffering of women. It’s an obstacle to social justice in general,” said Bethia Tucker, a participant of the walk.