Zara Aleena was killed because she “Wholeheartedly believed women should be able to walk home alone.”

Her grieving family described the aspiring lawyer as a “carefree spirit” and paid tribute to a series of women, including Sarah Everard, who lost their lives in the past two years for doing just what Zara had been – walking home alone. “She was fierce: she didn’t just survive, she thrived, she walked everywhere, she put her party shoes in a bag and donned her trainers. She walked.”

45 years ago, in response to the murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper and police response that women should stay out of “Public spaces after dark.” Women in Leeds held what is now an annual protest called ‘Reclaim the Night.’ A dozen other marches took place that same night in other cities, encouraged by the efforts of women in Leeds. These cities included: York, Bristol, Brighton, New-castle, Bradford, Manchester, Lancaster, and London. Women carried signs like “No Curfew on Women – Curfew on Men.” Then marches on the subject have spread to AustraliaIndiaSlovenia, and the USA.

Peggy Seeger, an American Folk singer who has lived in the UK for 60 years, wrote the most articulate words I’ve ever heard about what women faced then and still face in her song “Reclaim The Night.” Yes, raping your wife has since become a crime; however, currently, almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales.

Reclaim the night Lyrics

Though Eve was made from Adam’s rib
Nine months he lay within her crib
How can a man of woman born
Thereafter use her sex with scorn?
For though we bear the human race
To us is given but second place
And some men place us lower still
By using us against our will

If we choose to walk alone
For us there is no safety zone
If we’re attacked we bear the blame
They say that we began the game
And though you prove your injury
The judge may set the rapist free
Therefore the victim is to blame
Call it nature, but rape’s the name

Chorus: Reclaim the night and win the day
We want the right that should be our own
A freedom women have seldom known
The right to live, the right to walk alone without fear

A husband has his lawful rights
Can take his wife whene’er he likes
And courts uphold time after time
That rape in marriage is no crime
The choice is hers and hers alone
Submit or lose your kids and home
When love becomes a legal claim
Call it duty, but rape’s the name

And if a man should rape a child
It’s not because his spirit’s wild
Our system gives the prize to all
Who trample on the weak and small
When fathers rape, they surely know
Their kids have nowhere else to go
Try to forget, don’t ask us to
Forgive them — they know what they do


When exploitation is the norm
Rape is found in many forms
Lower wages, meaner tasks
Poorer schooling, second class
We serve our own, and, like the men
We serve employers — it follows then
That bodies raped is nothing new
But just a servant’s final due

We’ve raised our voices in the past
And this time will not be the last
Our bodies’ gift is ours to give
Not payment for the right to live
Since we’ve outgrown the status quo
We claim the right to answer “No!”
If without consent he stake a claim
Call it rape, for rape’s the name

#ZaraAleena #ReclaimTheNight

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