Guest post from Anna Ritchie Allan, Chair of Glasgow Rape Crisis Board of Directors. This post first appeared on the Rape Crisis Glasgow blog as is published here with their permission.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre. Perhaps the women who came together in 1976 thought that this would all be sorted by now. That women and girls would be living their lives, free from sexual violence.
And yet here we are, still living with the everyday threat, or reality, of rape and sexual assault. Still fighting a culture which blames women for being raped, and which normalises violence against women. Still challenging the notion of ‘stranger danger’, when the vast majority of women are raped or sexually assaulted by someone they know. Still trying to change a criminal justice system that is failing to provide justice to survivors.
Rape crisis centres are massively under-resourced. In the past three years, demand on Glasgow’s service has risen by around 25%, and support and advocacy related calls have risen by almost 50%. And this is against a backdrop of an increasingly smaller pot of funding. We couldn’t provide the services we do without our team of volunteers.
The numbers are stark. Glasgow Rape Crisis covers an area with a population of approximately 1.2 million, 52% of whom are women, and even the most conservative figures estimate that one in five of those women will experience sexual violence at some time in their lives.
Male violence doesn’t discriminate. All groups of women experience sexual violence, so our feminism is intersectional. We’re committed to supporting survivors in a way that recognises the complexities of all women’s lives.
Reclaim the Night is about raising awareness of sexual violence. It marks the start of the 16 days of action to end violence against women, which highlights gender-based violence as a human rights issue.
Reclaim the Night also gives women a space to have a voice. It gives them the opportunity to come together to say ‘no always means no’.
This year, we’re delighted to have two of our patrons speaking at the rally, Denise Mina and Susan Calman, along with Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender, Scotland’s feminist organisation.
Everyone is welcome at Reclaim the Night. So bring your friends, bring your placards, and bring an umbrella.
Reclaim the Night - Wednesday 25th November 2015
Assemble 6pm at Ruskin Lane, across the road from the Botanic Gardens entrance.
March off 6.30pm. Rally at STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, G3 6NG.
Speakers: Denise Mina and Susan Calman, Glasgow Rape Crisis patrons; Emma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender.
If you want to support the work of Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre, you can donate here.
If you want to volunteer to work on our helpline, come along to our information evening.
Feminism on Film: Engender joins with Take One Action Film Festival Films can be an amazing way to explore new ideas, understand complex issues, and celebrate change. And documentary film is a particularly good medium for discussion, as anyone who's overheard conversations about Fyre Festival, R Kelly or Apollo 11 this year will know.
We are always looking for new voices on our blog.
Please send us your blogs and we can offer editing advice, and we also have some opportunities for paid contributions.