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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Women’s Fest

A big thank you to all that helped out and attended Women’s Fest events. The week was a successful celebration, despite everyone’s uni requirements! I had a great week and am especially thankful for the Stencilling workshop which has provided my flat with some fantastic artwork. A big shout out to all of our performers: Plum Green, Kitten et Me and others at our open mic night – wonderful performances, highly enjoyable – and Goodbye Galaxy, Death Rattle, The Windups and Punchbowl for your awesome performances at our ‘Women who want to scare you fest’. I also really appreciated a large glass of wine on Saturday while watching High School Musical II (review: very wholesome, great song rip off of ‘Oh Happy Day’, not the classic of HSM I, but recommended).

Coming to the end of term means increased workloads for everybody (including us VUWSA-ites), so I wish everyone luck for upcoming essays/tests/exams/parties. The next big event on the Women’s Fest calendar is Reclaim the Night. This is an annual international event where women take to the street to protest against sexual violence. The first I heard of this event was back in the late ‘90s watching Beverly Hills 90210. On screen it comes across as a light, fun and friendly chance to be proud of being a woman. Not to doubt 90210 were increasing their awareness, however reality is, I imagine, a lot darker.

The concept is basic. Women should be free from threat and fear of sexual violence in their community, day or night. The first rally took place in Rome in 1976, as a reaction to reported rapes reaching ‘Astronomical’ figures (16000 per annum).

Around 10,000 women and children marched through the centre of the city. In West Germany 1977, women demanded: “the right to move freely in their communities at day and night without harassment and sexual assault.”

As Reclaim the Night reached Australia by the late ‘80s, the underlying beliefs were: “By taking part in this protest we are able to unite in a joyful celebration of our collective strength and solidarity, demanding not only safety on the streets but at home and in the workplace. We march to reclaim our public space and demand that which has been denied us. Paradoxically, the right to walk alone.”

The date of the Wellington Reclaim the Night is yet to be set, (check the Women’s Group MyVictoria portal or send me an email). Anyone willing to help Ali and myself with the organisation of the event would be greatly appreciated!

Good luck for these busy weeks ahead.

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