Sing, Dance, RISE: One Billion Rising on Valentine’s Day

8421783404_119896ef45_bOne in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. Half of the seven billion global population are women—which means that one billion women alive now will be, or have been, raped or beaten. These are the statistics behind the creation of One Billion Rising.

February 14 is the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a movement to end violence against girls and women created by Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler. This year, Ensler hopes to expand the efforts of V-Day by moving one billion men and women to action with One Billion Rising, a global strike and act of solidarity. Inspired by her time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ensler wanted to create an event to allow women to “take up space” through moving, dancing and celebrating. Flash mobs, testimonials, singing, dancing and other events around the globe are mobilizing people to bring violence against women into the spotlight.

According to Ensler:

Nothing we’ve ever done has caught fire quite the way this idea has caught fire, and … it has spread to 202 countries.  I really do believe we will see at least a billion people rising and dancing to end violence against women and girls on February 14.

One Billion Rising is also about more than just one day of action. Ensler plans on asking everyone who participates in the event to make a pledge to work individually with organizations to continue to end violence against women. While a multitude of celebrities (including Anne Hathaway, Rosario Dawson, Robert Redford and the Dalai Lama) have endorsed the movement, Ensler maintains that what she’s most excited about is the grassroots aspect of the campaign.

I think sometimes what people don’t see is all the incredibly good stuff that’s happening, the change that’s happening, the people who are rising up in their communities. … I feel like we need to report more on that and we need to make how we treat women and see women and present women in the center of the discourse all the time, not just on February 14. …  We’re 51 percent of the population.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you or someone you know has been affected by rape or physical abuse. To start or join a rising, visit OneBilionRising.org, which will livestream the campaign’s events on February 14. All participants are encouraged to share their stories and events on social media under the hashtag #1BillionRising and #reasontorise.

Photo from Flickr user Steve Rhodes via Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. Shirley Dean says:

    As an educator for 34 years I am very aware of the impact of this on everyone! Men and boys are also victims in a culture that teaches violence towards anyone, especially women. This causes everyone concerned to live lives that lack fullfillment of the true humanity that is our potential. Neither men nor boys can know how to be fully human as long as they are degraded by observing or perpetrating harm to sisters, mothers or ones they love.
    Nowhere do I see this happening more than in our government of men who remain unaware and unable to truly understand what is needed in all areas of our lives. We are all raped and beaten by a government that is hijacked by big money in elections;, lobbys that own our congress; lifetime polititions ; judicial systems that marginalize women and minorities; and women themselves who vote as instructed by their husbands or do not become informed!
    Already other governments in other places are introducing reforms for women. Our own has already responded to Hispanics vote by proposing immigration reform and yet, the votes of the women who supported Oboma have been met by closing clinics for women and taking away our options for birth control, the last bastion of protection for women to have control of our own bodies!. Without Planned Parenthood where would I have taken my own daughter for pregnancy and std testing when she was raped and so afraid of being branded as “damaged goods” by the doctor or someone on his staff in our small town? Where are the agencies who are properly funded to protect the children that I reported as being abused only to get a letter saying that their investigation warranted no further action. When will a prescription for erectile dysfunction be as scrutinized as a prescription for birth control?
    Congress will not institute fundamental reforms themselves. Therefore, let us make a this a grass roots uprising to amend the constitution to provide for change that will once again provide a congress that is responsive to our people!,
    This movement can be the numbers needed. Our leaders in this cause can be the voice of reason to formulate an amendment that can accomplish the task of uniting us for concrete and workable ideas that will allow our voices to be heard!
    Let us not stop with dancing in the streets! Let us continue to take meaningful actions that will end this form of slavery that is just as far reaching as the thirteenth amendment!! As we were all freed from human physical bondage by that one let us free the souls of women, men and our precious children with this battle!!

  2. Tammy McKenna says:

    I am glad women are speaking up against rape and abuse. I am grateful that I live in a democratic, free society but do acknowledge that we still face problems. I recently have experienced inappropriate fondling by a person I trusted, had built a father-daughter relationship with and who is a registered massage therapist. I am educated with 2 young children, am a teacher and 40 years old. I felt ashamed and have lived in silence because I am afraid of talking about it. I blame myself for not making a scene and sitting quietly. I feel embarrassed that at this point in my life I wasn’t stronger and smarter. It may not have been rape but it was inappropriate and humiliating and has saddened me. I worry about my children and what they will encounter and hope this campaign keeps building to help make both men and women aware and demanding change.

  3. But who are the ones committing violence against women because this campaign conveniently does not name the perpetrators, which is why male politicians have no hesitation in giving their support, but continue to do nothing to curb pandemic male violence against women and girls because they happen to be female not male.

    Certainly boys are subjected to male violence but the numbers of boys pales in comparison to global male violence against women and girls. If men were really concerned about male on male violence they would initiate their own campaigns rather than co-opt Feminist activism and claim ‘violence happens to everyone!’ The issue of how Male Supremacist Systems maintain male domination over women is erased because One Billion Rising will not name the perpetrators because that upsets men and we know what happens when men are held accountable – they retaliate and punish women.

  4. Sandra Basgall says:

    I celebrated it in Bangladesh with more than 2.7 million women and men. Go here to see: https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingBangladesh.

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