HUNDREDS of people took to the streets of Worcester to challenge violence against women and girls.

An estimated 400 women, male and non-binary allies joined forces at Boston Tea Party at 7.30pm on Thursday evening (November 25) before making their way through Worcester’s city centre.

Attendees were encouraged to make as much noise as possible when they passed pubs and venues where women had experienced violence and sexual assaults.

Powerful banners were also on display, conveying messages such as ‘My body, My property, Your respect’.

Organisations including Worcestershire's Women's Equality Party, West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, West Mercia Women's Aid, Joy Project, Out2gether, University of Worcester and Worcester Community Trust all took part.

Sarennah Longworth-Cook, co-founder of Out2gether, an LGBTQ+ group for Worcestershire, said: "We're here tonight because we have a lot of women members, and that includes a diversity of women, so we have lesbians, bisexual women, trans women and non-binary persons.

"But we also find anyone who's visibly LGBTQ+ on the streets experiences the same violence - whether that's verbal abuse, physical violence or the threat of violence from straight men - as the rest of the women who are here.

"So we really want to add our voice to the women's voice, and say 'this is just not good enough.

"We all have a part to play in this, the statistics for male violence are so high.

"It means it might not be all men, but it's probably men we work with and live alongside, they're in our lives whether we know it or not."

After making their way through the city centre, the march came full circle to Boston Tea Party, where walkers warmed up with teas and coffees and further talks were held.

One woman, who wished not to be named, said: “It is amazing to see so many people have come out for the march, there are so many more here than I was expecting.

“But at the same time, I think it shows the shere amount of women who have been affected by male violence, and there will be countless others at home who couldn’t make it here tonight, too. It has to stop.”

Edward John McCrorie Mayne was one of the male walkers who was supporting from the back of the demonstration.

He said: "Two out of three women are sexually harassed or assaulted on the street, that just isn't acceptable.

"As a guy I feel like we need to stand behind the women and say 'this is not ok', we need to make the streets safe again.

"It's all good women coming forward and speaking out, but this actually needs to be backed by us as well, and it starts by us showing our support.

"So that's why I came out tonight, to show my support.

"I think some men can feel offended when they're asked to come and support women because they think 'I'd never do anything like that, so why should I support it?'

"Well, we need to stand behind women and show we're with them."