Thursday, February 14, 2013

I’m one in a billion rising up on V-Day

One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
One billion women violated is an atrocity.
One billion women, joining together to rise up, sing and dance, is a revolution.
I will rise up, sing, dance and be part of the one billion demanding an end to violence against women because:
I am privileged not to have endured this kind of abuse and violence at home. I cannot begin to imagine what living with an abusive father or brother or relative must be like;
I started out my career in journalism in the 1970s and it took a lot of battles to be accepted as a professional, in many cases it still is so many years since; and
Just last week, a former co-worker verbally abused me.
Violence, abuse and rape against girls and women are a sign of ignorance, cowardice and weakness and should no longer be tolerated.
Hopefully, strength in numbers, we will get the message across to abusers, assaulters and rapists that their actions will no longer be tolerated and their cowardly and barbaric acts will diminish and become a shameful part of our history.
So this Valentine’s Day is not only about buying chocolates and roses but enlisting as many people – women, girls, men and boys -- as we know to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women.

This day’s events are organized by V-Day on its 15th anniversary.
One billion rising is:
  • A global strike
  • An invitation to dance
  • A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
  • An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
  • A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
  • A new time and a new way of being

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. It is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.
Eve Ensler, the playwright, performer, feminist, activist and artist best known for her play The Vagina Monologues, created V-Day in 1998.
In their own words:
  • V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.
  • V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.
  • V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.
  • V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.
  • V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.
  • V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.
  • V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine's Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.
  • V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community.

In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, V-Day commits ongoing support to build movements and anti-violence networks. Working with local organizations, V-Day provided hard-won funding that helped open the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq; sponsored annual workshops and three national campaigns in Afghanistan; convened the "Confronting Violence" conference of South Asian women leaders; and donated satellite-phones to Afghan women to keep lines of communication open and action plans moving forward.
V-Day was instrumental in the founding of Karama, a program working in Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon that strives to consolidate efforts to end violence against women by bringing together local women organizations and other civil society groups in collaboration, analysis and advocacy at national, regional and international levels.
Oh, and by the way, the 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.
What will you do today?