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Women will march every year until violence stops
7:20am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
HUNDREDS of people fighting against rape and sexual violence towards women marched through Oxford.
More than 150 women joined the annual Reclaim the Night event on Friday and made their way from Cowley Road, East Oxford, to Oxford Town Hall in St Aldate’s.
Waving home-made banners and placards the campaigners were making the point that women have the right to feel safe on a night out.
Organisers say 111 rapes were reported in Oxfordshire last year but they believe many others went unrecorded.
The march was organised to coincide with International Women’s Day and also tried to highlight the need for victims of sexual violence to be heard when they have the courage to speak out.
Dubbed ‘Listen Up’, the evening ended with a celebration at the city’s Town Hall organised with Oxford International Women’s Festival.
Around 100 women and men listened to speakers from groups including Reclaim the Night and Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre, while music was provided by the Oxford Young Women’s Music Project and Barton Sings.
One of the march organisers, Clare Cochrane, said: “It was wonderful, probably the best one yet.
“There was a huge variety of messages and placards that people had made and loads of chanting.
Sadly, it is still a huge issue and we will keep marching every year while there is still violence towards women.”
There were a total of 488 sex offences recorded by Thames Valley Police between April 2011 and March 2012 compared to 581 the previous year.