Friday 15 February 2013

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising, the campaign aimed at ending the violence that impacts on more than one billion women in the world spread across the globe yesterday, in a dance of solidarity with abuse survivors and as a means of raising awareness.


Violence is something that can happen to any one of us, at any time - it is the one factor that unites all women across the world. The facts are staggering: most of that violence comes at the hands of intimate partners; in the USA a woman is beaten by her partner every 15 seconds; in Egypt, 35% of women report being physically abused at least once in their lifetime; 35% of Turkish women have experienced marital rape; in South Africa 165 women report being raped every day; one in three women in the American military is raped; one in three women on the planet will be raped in her lifetime.

Women dance at the One Billion Rising in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Thursday, Feb. 14.


So, why dance in the streets? It was a symbolic gesture to reclaim the streets, to say we will not hide, we will not stay at home out of sight so that we can be safe. We will not give in to the fear, the fear to participate in public life, the fear to live our lives the way men do, without anticipating physical attack, and worse still, being attacked and then being blamed for it.


To stop feeling that we have at all times to act available in a passive, submissive manner. To stop feeling that we have to be taking responsibility for 'protecting' ourselves from sexual assault because sexual assault is a fact of life. To start saying that it is not our responsibility to be cautious, to restrict ourselves, the wear the 'right' clothes, to be quieter, better behaved so that men don't rape us.


Photo: Parliamentarians RISING


To put the blame where it belongs, with the abusers, whether they are stranggers or members of our family. To establish once for all that women get raped because someone raped them, not because they were not 'careful' enough.

Photo: group salute from St Marys cathedral vday, sydney


To stop the assumption that sex is something done to women rather than something we do.

Manila, students from St Scholastica's College

To shatter the notion that rape is about sexual desire. Rape is about hatred. Jyoti Singh who died after a gang rape on a bus in Delhi that left her intestines pulverised was not the object of lust - the shoving of a rusty metal bar inside her was an act of hatred.

Photo: One Billion Rising - Prague 14.02.2013

Jana Chrzova


What of the 10 year old girl who was raped and filmed by 20 men in Texas?


What of the hundreds of women in the Congo who end up in hospital with their vaginas, their uteri mutilated beyond repair?



What of the young women murdered by their parents because they refused to marry the man chosen for them?


All these are instances of hatred, of trying to keep women 'in their place', of keeping them invisible, out of the way, cowed, submissive, frightened.

Photo: Yesterday, One Billion Rising marked the start of a new way of being ... and to mark that start, we danced! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard together to make our SA rising an incredible success ..


Hundreds of thousands of women danced in the streets yesterday as a way of saying enough.
This cannot go on.


We need to start building a better world where people are treated with respect and consideration. The hatred has got to stop.



The Guardian
The New Statesman

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