Words and Photos: Iola Shaw
Bramley had its own socially distanced Reclaim the Night 5km run/walk last night, which raised approximately £505 for Women’s Aid with 30 women taking part.
Online sportwear store RIPL fitness encouraged women to organise Covid-rules compliant 5km walk/runs on Saturday, 27 March at 8pm.
Over 450 people signed up to take part nationally and Caroline Nardone, as owner of the Kitchen at Haleys’ Yard in Bramley, outlined a safe route and increased awareness of the event by inviting people to join her.
Before setting off, sisters Katie Windle and Toni Duxbury said they felt it was important to take part in the event. They added:
“It’s an outlet for how angry I feel about what’s happened.”
Caroline said that this was an issue very close to her heart. When running from Kirkstall to Bramley last year a man exposed himself to her.
She managed to take photos of his number plate and reported it to the police. They took her statement within an hour, identifying the perpetrator, her pictures helping to lead to a successful prosecution. Her experience of the police and the court system was exemplary.
Caroline has a strong message not to ignore such intimidating and illegal activity, saying:
“This behaviour is serious and punishable. Please always report it if anything happens to you. It is worthwhile.”
She said a police officer visited her house within an hour to take her statement, and the day in court was an even handed and empowering experience. The courts set the maximum non-custodial sentence but also directed a rehabilitation plan so the person who offended against her will be supported to manage his own behaviour to ensure others are kept safe in future.
One walker highlighted this is part of a constant campaign to improve safety as she revealed she’d been part of the reclaim the night movement 40 years ago.
After the event Amanda Murray-Hind, of the Bramley Breezers’ running group, added:
“I’m here because everyone has the right to be out and safe on the streets regardless of sex, orientation, gender or age – day or night.”
The Reclaim the Night movement in the UK started in Leeds 40 years ago in response to the police recommendation that women stay home because they were being targeted in violent attacks throughout Yorkshire.
Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.
The event follows the murder of Sarah Everard, who went missing while walking home from a friend’s house on 3 March. Her body was later found in woodland in Kent and Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with the 33-year-old’s kidnap and murder.
As previously reported by WLD, floral tributes have also been left in Sarah’s memory at Pudsey Park bandstand.