Update (27/12): Accommodation details added.
Update (26/12): Transport details added for Portsmouth and Scotland - see below.
Update (19/12): The organisers are calling for volunteers to help steward the event.
Five sex workers from Ipswich have been murdered in ten days. The leader of the County Council, Jeremy Pembroke, has urged women not to go out alone. But as a response local people are organising a "Reclaim the Night" event to assert their freedom to go out at night (Press Release). The event will take place on the 29th December, starting at 7pm outside Ipswich Town Hall. There will be a few speakers and then a walk to the "red light district". The organisers are inviting both women and men to join them in showing their "love and solidarity for the friends and families of the murdered women and all the people of Ipswich".
The current situation is similar to the time of the first "Reclaim the Night" marches in the UK - they happened on the 23rd November 1977 as a response to the "Ripper Murders" in Leeds. Women in Leeds were angry at advice to stay indoors since the last "Ripper" killing, so they marched with torches through the town and challenged men in the street, asking them where they were at the time the "Ripper" killed Jacqueline Hill? On this occasion hundreds of women sang protest songs in the city square. Marches occurred simultaneously in 11 towns, from Manchester to Soho.
An Amnesty International UK report recently revealed shockingly low knowledge about the scale of sexual violence against women in this country and worrying attitudes towards such crime. Every year there are thought to be up to 50,000 rapes in the UK. Currently only 5.6% of rapes reported to the police result in conviction.
To read minutes of last night's planning meeting details go to http://www.myspace.com/ipswich_womyns_health
Attached is a flyer for the event; please distribute widely (or make your own!)
Love and Liberation,
7.00 - Gather outside the town hall on the Corn Hill. We will be encouraging this space to be used for a candle-lit vigil.After we have given time for people to arrive we hope to have brief talks with a representative from the following areas:
* prostitutes/sex workers,
* a family member or friend of one of the victims and
* someone from a local womyns group..
7.45 - Leave off from the town hall.The route we are planning on taking is through town and into the edge of the "red light district" or across the road from it depending on the police. We will then hold a minutes silence in memory of the 5 murdered womyn.
8.45 - Closing.We want to include safety, travel and accommodation info so no one is put at risk on their way home.
9.00 - End
"Obviously we want to put as little strain on [police] resources as possible so we are asking that anyone who can act as steward or may know someone who can do this please mail us asap so we can get an idea of numbers."
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Reclaim the Night March in Ipswich
On the 29th of December people from Ipswich and supports from all around the UK will gather on the steps of Ipswich town hall calling for an end to all violence and the right to walk without fear.
Organisers are calling on all people to gather together to state that sexual violence and murder are NOT ok in any circumstances, and to demand the right for all women to live freely without the fear of violence.
5 young women have been murdered in Ipswich over the past 2 months, and a minutes silence will be held to allow us to think about them, their families and loved ones. We will march to Handford Road, where two of the women where last seen. There will also be a candle-lit vigil
A spokesperson from the organising group, who have come together is response to the murders, said ‘as a group we felt that women were being asked to live in fear. We know that people are feeling unsafe on the streets of Ipswich after dark, so we need to show that if we work together we can keep each other safe. People need a chance to come together to express their grief and outrage.’
Those wishing to take part are asked to gather together at 7 pm on the steps of Ipswich town hall, on the 29th December. We hope to be finished by 9pm.
Notes to the editor:
For more information please contact:
07929 123 314
Lifts offered from Scotland, contact email@example.com for more information
Leaving central Portsmouth around 2pm on 29th and returning same night.
Mobile: 07840 910054 or 07999 818294
we have organised limited accomadation for the night of the 29th. If you need somewhere to stay please contact Bek on 07929 123 314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we have some ideas of numbers
The RTN Collective