The Indymedia Scotland  describes how the City of Edinburgh Council has this month rejected two applications submitted by groups requesting to hold events which raise awareness of Violence Against Women.

Women experience a disproportionate amount of violence in society ranging from domestic abuse, sexual assault, rape, and forced marriage.

However this violence, directed explicitly at women, seems to be an accepted phenomenon. I have some problems with the proposed ‘Slutwalk’, but none with ‘Reclaim the Night’ – an annual global event. Its primary aim is to empower people for whom the night is often a dangerous time to be out on the streets, because of the threat of sexual and physical violence.

Apparently the main cause for the concern of our leaders on Edinburgh City Council is that some rugby match coincides with the march and lots of rugby teams will be staying in the Grassmarket, which happens to be on the route of the proposed march.

The Council stated that health and safety concerns for the people on the Reclaim the Night march are their reason for refusing the application, insisting that demonstrators would be subject to negative drunken attention by men on the street.

Am I missing something here? Er, why not ban the drunken men then?

It is ironic that violence from drunk men is the reason given by the council to refuse the march, since Reclaim the Night is specifically about taking back space which is dominated by aggressive people, and making it safe for everyone.

These reasons stated by the Council, further perpetuate the idea that men have a right to occupy public space, while women must stay at home for their own protection. Here, the City of Edinburgh Council have repeated the age old mantra that women must have their freedoms limited for their health and safety, instead of supporting the idea that the onus be on men to change their intimidating behaviour.

This appears to be a perpetuation of a patriarchal belief system that would prefer women (and all oppressed peoples) to stay silent on matters of their human rights. This statement echoes an agenda which is currently responsible for cutting many crucial women’s services such as child care and rape crises centres.

The right to self expression, to stand up and fight for a better life, should be protected.

Organising for Reclaim the Night is ongoing, on the 28th of May. And there’ll be singing!

Thanks to @loota for the link.