Reclaim not only the night, but the control of
our bodies from patriarchy!
"Reclaim the night" is a march to protest
sexual violence, unsafety of the streets and…especially at night, and in
general all forms of male violence against women. We are marching to say that
we have the right to live without fear of rape. To say that women must be safe at
all times; not only at home, workplace or any other place, but also in the darkest
and most secluded alleys, no matter what they dress or do or how they behave.
If we go back to the history of "Reclaim the
Night" march, we see that it was not a symbolic march. It was a wave of
angry protest and a purposeful struggle in 1970s, arose from the overall struggles
of women against oppression and discrimination, and aimed at ending
gender-based violence of any type. They were protesting angrily against the
murder of women who were out alone at night and prostitute women, high rate of
rape, patriarchal advice from the police that women should dress and behave
appropriately and stay in at night to avoid sexual harassment, the emergence
and growth of pornography and sex trade and ...
But why despite all the struggles that peaked in the 60s
and 70s, women in the so-called modern Britain are still discriminated against.
Even though some laws are reformed with women’s struggles, why the extent of
sexual violence, rape and humiliation of women have become so widespread?
In London alone, there are about 15,000 sexual violence
and rape cases each year, of which just 13-15% are reported. About 50,000 cases
of domestic violence, of which only about 20% are reported. In the UK, every 2
to 3 women are killed by their current or former partner. We still have
restrictions to control our bodies and fertility, still are sold as slave in
sex trade in various forms. Anti-woman propaganda and Pornography and the
images they promote in society are still humiliating and dehumanizing us in
horrific way. These are not only increasing, but also are normalized under
different labels such as "freedom of expression". The widespread and
ruthless standards and norms of beauty is making our bodies a sexual object, sexualized and evaluated on that base.
These statistics and scale of violence are catastrophic. We are still under patriarchal
domination for thousands of years, and that is exactly the whole point: the
control of our bodies and activities.
When women appear in public opinion as such, and social
relations in the real sense (not just law) ultimately show a demeaned and
inferior image of them, as if they exist only to give men pleasure; obviously
men would learn it as a right to dominate or rape women whenever they feel this
ownership is at risk. Obviously women would be blamed for behaving or appearing
in a way that could mean they have no problem with rape! She must have done
something that made him violent! She has been in a place she should not, and
has endangered herself! It does not seem as her basic right of freedom to go
anywhere at any time, express her sexual or emotional feelings freely... or
have fun, even if gets drunk in the middle of the night. Unless it is believed
that women are in fact in subordinate position and a sexual object, so if they
behave outside the defined norms, they are giving consent to be raped! Or if
they challenge men's domination, or enter into a sphere that "belongs to
men" and out of their leagues; they should be put back to their place by
being violated or beaten…
When we talk about male oppression, we actually are
talking about patriarchy in its entire sense that is systematically organizing
and shaping the thoughts of society, including men. We all live within a
social-cultural and political system that has its own fundamentallawsand
only on that basis construct and define the position, role or freedom of individuals,
the main culture and ethics of society.
The fundamental laws in Britain are based on capitalism,
in which there are oppressive class, racial, national, and also gender
distinctions. These are real and we all know about it. The life and death and
the logic behind these rules is to serve the profit accumulation for this
system. Profit accumulation cannot be achieved unless some are oppressed and
exploited. We are talking about a system (a network of specific political social
and economic relations) that is planning all the relations of society and
shaping thoughts, rather than individuals. Some individuals affiliated with the
British government or other institutions of the system may condemn violence
against women. We do not hear in the media or from the political institutions
or organizations of this country, that rape or violence is ok. Even if some of
them condemn violence or even seek to change the law; but since the totality of
this system and its fundamental institutions can only function wherein anything
-any thought or act-that could become a commodity and profitable, is promoted
and strengthened, and on this basis has defined ‘’freedom’’; it reproduces violence
and oppression in thousands of ways. The ultimate policies of government, media
propaganda, cultural and entertainment programs and writings, shape the public
opinion in a way that in the end result in traditional and subordinate role and
position of women. None of these are strongly challenged in real meaning by any
government-affiliated organizations or the entire imperialist capitalist system
in Britain with an aim to transform social relations towards emancipating women.
This is not in the nature of the capitalist system. The continuation of male domination
and the ownership of women's bodies, is at the heart of its nature and
corresponds to its ideology and relations.
Therefore, when we talk about male violence, we must be
able to see the systematic organizer of this violence, the capitalist state and
its culture; and from that standpoint challenge the root causes of this oppression.
We must be able to move beyond the existing framework and all the related
ideologies and arguments that have been imposed on us to raise our demands. The
strategy of women's struggles is the abolition of all forms of oppression and
existing property relations against women, the corresponding ideology that
enslave women; not just some improvement or reform in some aspects of it and
stay in the same framework that benefits from women's subordination.
We need to discuss, learn and teach, raise and promote our
correct knowledge; about violence and oppression against women and its roots in
order to organize a united front of militant and conscious women against
patriarchy in all forms, to reclaim the control of our
bodies from the grasp of patriarchal ownership.
8 march women’s
organisation (Iran- Afghanistan)-UK