Reclaim Stirling march reaches the Kelpies.

Reclaim the Night in photos

3 mins read

Reclaim the Night is a campaign aiming to give power to people facing violence and allow them to speak up. This was the start of their 16 days of activism, with talks from local councillors, police, and others in the community, as well as a march to the Kelpies in Falkirk on November 25, 2022. 

Reclaim the Night started in 1977 to protest the police response to the Yorkshire Ripper murders when, rather than asking men to stay at home, women were told to remain inside in order to be safe from violence.

Reclaim Stirling itself grew in response to a series of incidents of drinks’ spiking in the area, and a need to make sure local businesses took the threat seriously.  I was able to follow the Reclaim Stirling group through the process of preparing signs to hand out before the walk to the Kelpies.

Reclaim the Night volunteer making a poster.
Volunteers, most of them students, gathered on the University of Stirling campus to make the banners. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
Banners for reclaim the night
The group spent two hours designing these posters for others who planned to attend but lacked the time to make their own. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
Reclaim the night
The day of the march itself was attended by members of the local council, parents, representatives from women’s charities, the police, fire service, and artists. There were speeches from Councillor Stacey Devine; Bryony Monaghan, Head of Education and Chief Education Officer for Stirling Council; Angela Barron, CEO of Forth Valley Rape Crisis; and artist Jacqueline Mackenzie. Image Credit Jonathan Boomer.
Mackenzie at Reclaim the Night
Mackenzie spoke about her own experiences, and how she turned them into inspiration for her work. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer.
Speakers discussing event
After the talks there was time for people to get themselves hot drinks in preparation for the walk, and to talk about Jacqueline Mackenzie’s art on display at the back of the room. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer

The march was met with car horns which raised some spirits, while worrying others. Some joined the march as we walked through the park. Chants could be heard coming from the front as we walked, calls for justice and safer streets. 

The walk itself began as the sun started to set, and reached the Kelpies as it dipped below the horizon. There were a few more words said as the rain started, with attendees hiding under their signs or sheltering each other under umbrellas.

Child's hand holding poster "No means no"
Many brought along their young children. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
The rain did little to discourage those in attendance. Most of them braved the rain to listen to a few words from organisers before returning to the Forth Valley College campus to go home. Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer

Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer

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Journalism student and photographer

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