It is an event that will give you goosebumps. It is a night that women from various backgrounds; students, nurses, teachers, Christians, Muslims, black and white, tall, short, loud, shy, unite under one motto: Reclaim the Night.
Parading through the streets of Manchester, women shout every year at the top of their voice against street harassment, rape culture and victim blaming, saying ‘NO’ to sexual violence against women and standing by every female in the world that has suffered from any of the above.
It’s an event full of light, laughs, color and support even from people that happen to drive by or walk on the streets. As part of the academic world, it is primarily our responsibility, to stand against such practices wherever these take place, protest and assert our inalienable rights. Although we might feel safe, that doesn’t stop the unjust way in which women globally are being treated.
Manchester happens to be a safe city full of life and people. Nevertheless, there are certain policies that help everyone feel even more secure and safe, something that I personally believe is crucial for international students and their families. Living far away from our home country could cause anxiety both to our families, and possibly even to ourselves occasionally (though we never admit it), so being aware of a safety toolkit, is rather reassuring.
Greater Manchester Police has created Manchester’s Student Safe Zones. These are safe zones comprised of a group of businesses all the way down to Oxford and Wilmslow Road. Anyone can utilise them, if apart from all the other safety parameters, they feel vulnerable or unwell. When entering a venue, students should feel safe again no matter what made them feel uncomfortable in the first place and they can request from the staff to contact either the Police or emergency services of any kind (ex. fire department) and stay there until the emergency passes. You can recognise the businesses that have signed up to this scheme by the featured yellow sticker reading ‘safe zone’.
Furthermore, in case that for some reason you are far away from your residence and have no money on you, no worries, you can still grab a taxi. Just by using the Safe Taxi Scheme, call a taxi from street cars quoting ‘Manchester SU Safe Taxi Scheme’ then give your full name and Student ID number. By the end of the ride, you can give to the driver your student card and collect it the next day from Student Union, paying the fair! Have fun, study hard and stay safe!