I’ve never been on a protest march. I’ve never done anything like that. It’s never really been my scene before. But tonight I went on a Take Back the Night march through the restaurant-lined foreshore of my town. It was loud. There was chanting and singing and dancing and a lot of annoyingly catchy slogans.
We were loud (well, I wasn’t. I’m not very good at being loud, other than by accident) and we were noticed. We vibrantly proclaimed that women have the right to walk the streets. To be free from rape and sexual violence. To be free from violence in any form. And it’s absolutely true. I was a good, sensible bear and took a taxi home through the darkness of the city’s streets; but I shouldn’t have had to. I should have been free to walk, certain in my safety.
And it’s not just the streets. I am safer walking the streets of my city late on a Friday night than I ever was in my own home before I took my freedom in my hands. More women are assaulted behind locked doors than on the streets; more women are beaten and betrayed by those with whom they should be safe than are ever attacked by strangers. For so many women, the home is not a place of safety, but a battle-field, a prison, a holding pen. Ironically, the night is actually safer.
We talk about reclaiming the night; sometimes we forget that we also need to reclaim the light behind closed doors, and make homes the sanctuaries they should be.