A billion to join protest against rape

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Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Actress Thandie Newton, right, reacts with playwright and charity founder, Eve Ensler, during a photocall for One Billion Rising.

London - On Valentine's Day this Thursday, one billion people across the planet will join a “feminist tsunami” by dancing to raise awareness at the shocking numbers of women and girls who are raped or abused in their lifetime.

The brainchild of campaigner Eve Ensler, the One Billion Rising movement - referring to the number of women and young girls alive today who will be raped or attacked - is supported by Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in the United States, as well as by high-profile women in the UK. Women in 190 countries have already signed up, including 25 million in Bangladesh.

On Thursday the actress Thandie Newton will lead a flashmob of dancers outside Parliament.

MPs, led by Stella Creasy for Labour and Amber Rudd for the Conservatives, will debate a motion calling for new laws to make personal, social and health education, including a zero-tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships, a requirement in schools. Ms Creasy said it was time for women of her generation to “pick up where our mothers' generation left off” and that sometimes it was as if feminism had taken a “step back”. Here are the voices of just eight of the one billion ...

SHAZIA MIRZA

Comedian and columnist

“If you're a woman anywhere in the world, you should care. Everyone has experienced it or knows someone who has experienced it”

DAWN AIREY

Television executive

“I didn't know about it but it sounds like a great thing. A demo can be very powerful”

RACHEL JOHNSON

Journalist and author

“Every day we read more examples of violence against women. However gimmicky it is, I agree with every effort to raise awareness of this”

LAURA BAILEY

Model and writer

“OBR will be both a celebration of female strength and solidarity and a revolution condemning violence towards women and girls”

KATHY LETTE

Novelist

“It's 100 years since Emmeline Pankhurst fought for equality, and women are still runners-up in the human race. One in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime”

JILLY COOPER

Journalist and author

“I'm against violence, full stop: women, men, children, animals. I don't like to polarise, so I think we should have an event against all violence”

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR

Sitar player and composer

“As a woman I find I'm frequently living in fear, afraid to walk alone at night, afraid to answer a man who asks for the time; enough is enough. I'm rising”

THANDIE NEWTON

Actress

“I was very violated as a young teen. I was young, very naive, and I was preyed on by directors. If there had been a campaign like OBR when I was 16, I'd have had a different attitude.” - The Independent on Sunday

* On the web: onebillionrising.org

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