Reclaim Blackpool came about in April 2021, following the brutal murder of Sarah Everard and the subsequent cry from women across the country to Reclaim These Streets. At the same time a new survey by UN Women revealed that 97% of women have been sexually harassed in public spaces and 96% of them do not report those situations because they believe it will not change anything. This project aims to challenge that.
Reclaim Blackpool is a grassroots project – a collaboration between local writer Antonia Charlesworth Stack and community arts organisation Aunty Social. It initially appeared as an article on Aunty Social’s online arts and culture magazine blackpoolsocial.club which encouraged around 50 women and girls to share their stories. That initial wave of stories led to We’re Sew Done – textile art responses to the harassment and threats of violence that women face every day which were showcased on the streets, in an exhibition and in a book. The testimonies provided were also used by Blackpool Council as evidence in applying for the government’s Safer Streets fund – it was subsequently awarded £550,000.
Supported by Empowerment Charity, which received a portion of the Safer Streets fund to roll out the It Stops Here anti-sexual harassment campaign, the creation of reclaimblackpoolmap.co.uk is an attempt to ensure our stories continue to be heard long after the public conversation around sexual harassment dies down. It seeks to empower women to raise their voices and demonstrate that their complaints are valid – no matter how inconsequential they may seem – and that they are not alone in their experiences. By reading other women’s stories, Reclaim Blackpool aims to give women the confidence to report serious incidents to authorities and to seek support. The project aims to build a picture of the extent of sexual harassment in public spaces in Blackpool – by identifying hotspots, people and places can be held to account and measures to counter it can be put in place by those with the power to do so. Reclaim Blackpool’s map can also be used as an educational tool – most vitally for boys and men, who ultimately hold the power to end the harassment of women and girls in public spaces.
Please note, in a bid to amplify women’s voices, stories recorded here may be quoted in press articles, books or used in future art projects. Visit the stories section if you are particularly keen to share yours, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that we cannot plot instances of abuse or harassment that happen in a domestic setting, outside of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast, or cases where men are targeted. Please visit the support section to access the help you need.