What can we do for the myriad women and girls who have endured physical or sexual violence? The One Billion Rising campaign offers up a revolutionary idea: Let’s dance.
All told, over one billion women around the globe will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. The One Billion Rising campaign is a direct response to this statistic and a massive effort to bring worldwide attention to violence against women. It’s an awareness campaign gearing up to a one-day global event that calls on people of all genders and in every country to join a collective flash-mob-cum-demonstration. Today, Valentine’s Day, people from all walks of life will join in showing support for the end of violence and the women and girls who’ve endured it. So far, activists in almost every single country (literally) have signed on to the event.
The demonstration will vary in locations across the globe (there are no strict rules to follow), but the basic idea is to gather together with other people or as a party of one and… just dance. The campaign’s website describes the event as “a global strike, an act of solidarity, a refusal to accept violence and rape culture, [and] a new way of being” — in short, a worldwide revolution.
The event is being staged partly in honor of the 15th Anniversary of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls that uses creative events to increase awareness, raise funds, and support anti-violence organizations. The movement is perhaps best known for promoting annual performances of The Vagina Monologues, a series of narratives based on real women’s reflections on their identities and experiences of abuse.
What is V-Day? from V-Day Until the Violence Stops on Vimeo.
Why It Matters
Instead of “Why does it matter?,” perhaps the question should be, “How could it not?” The stats regarding violence against women are staggering. One in three women will be the subject of violence —physical, sexual, and/or emotional — in her lifetime. Those at greatest risk are women ages 15 to 44; in fact, women in this age range are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than they are from cancer, motor accidents, war, and malaria. In short, violence against women and girls (as well as men and boys) is a big deal.
Thankfully, the issue has been gaining more media attention of late, though not necessarily for positive reasons. Conversations and protests about sexual assault picked up after a young woman was gang-raped and died in New Delhi, India. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire for the first time since it was signed into law in 1994. (The bill has since been reauthorized by the Senate and is currently awaiting revisitation by the House.)
Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to take action. Find a One Billion Rising event near you or follow them on Facebook or Twitter and join the revolution for a more loving world. It may just be the most fitting way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Will you stand (or dance) against violence against women? Share in the comments below or get in touch with the author on Twitter @lauranewc.