Dundee Reclaim the Night march to kick off ’16 days against women’s violence’

Dundee is gearing up to mark an annual United Nations campaign against gender-based violence starting with a major march for women’s safety.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence will see a wide programme of talks, workshops, artwork and public participation take place in the city.

The events have been organised by the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership (DVAWP), a city-wide initiative involving public bodies, charities, universities and colleges as well as local community figures, that aims to put a stop to gendered violence.

Ann Hamilton, chair of DVAWP, said the 2021 event was coming at an “intense” point in the debate on women’s safety.

The murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer has sparked renewed debates on women’s safety

Earlier this year, disgraced Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was given a rare whole-life sentence after using his role as a police officer to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

Everard, 33, had been walking home at the time when Couzens abused his policing role to coerce her into his car in south London in March.

The murder, and subsequent allegations about Couzens’ previous conduct, have sparked renewed discussions about why women don’t feel safe walking alone at night – something the United Nations’ 16 Days campaign hopes to change.

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Ann said: “This year’s programme of events is one of the most exciting and interesting we have ever put together in Dundee.

“That is not only fitting as we emerge together from the restrictions placed on us by the pandemic but also because we are at a critical moment when the focus on the perpetrators, systems and physical spaces which enable male violence against women and children is more intense than ever.

“A considerable amount of effort has gone into this year’s programme and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part and show their support in whatever way they can.”

First on the agenda is a Reclaim the Night march, starting in City Square at 6.15pm on Thursday November 25 and marching to Bonar Hall on the Nethergate.

Other highlights of the programme include a song writing workshop led by Dundee singer-songwriter Be Charlotte and an opportunity to create glow in the dark artwork in Baxter Park with fine artist Jo Craig.

The programme will end with a flashmob dance event outside V&A Dundee involving both young people in schools and BSL interpreters and dancers.

As the 16 Days reaches its conclusion people are being encouraged to show their solidarity by helping light up the whole city with candles, torches and fairy lights outside their homes at 6.30pm on Friday December 10.

At the same time prominent city buildings including the V&A, Police Scotland’s office in Bell Street, St Mary’s Tower at the City Churches and McManus Galleries will be lit up in orange, purple and green to mark the occasion.

Full details of the programme can be found on the DVAWP website.

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