One Billion Rising - This Valentine's Day 14 Feb, action to end violence against women.

By on February 11, 2013 9:17:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

StevenAus

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http://onebillionrising.org

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/28/one-billion-rising-feminist-campaign/print

Flashmobs in Mogadishu, marches in Bute and mass rallies in India: Eve Ensler on the global response to her One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women.

Since Eve Ensler launched the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women she has been repeatedly asked: is it a dance movement or overtly political? A protest or a giant global celebration? Just a few weeks before 14 February, the date that Ensler, activist and author of The Vagina Monologues, designated the “day to rise”, she says: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime.”

One in three women around the world are subject to violence at some point in their life, a statistic that prompted Ensler, who wrote the Monologues in 1996, to set up One Billion Rising. With such violence encompassing domestic abuse, gang rape, female genital mutilation and war, it is perhaps unsurprising that the campaign has taken on a different hue in each of the 190 countries where events to mark 14 February are planned.

“It is something that has gone across class, social group and religion. It’s like a huge feminist tsunami,” she said on a stopover in Paris.

Local protests range from the first ever flashmob in Mogadishu, Somalia, to the town square in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute and encompass Maori women in New Zealand and an estimated 25m protesters in Bangladesh. Ensler’s idea for One Billion Rising came from her work in the Congo, where she set up the City of Joy to help female victims of violence and where she plans to be on 14 February itself, a day chosen partly to take back the idea of love from the soppy commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Her last stop before Congo will be London, with a sold-out event at the Café de Paris including Thandie Newton and other campaigners.

Ensler says a combination of social media and the world’s grassroots feminist movements have driven the way the campaign has taken off globally. In south Asia for three weeks over Christmas, she was struck by how much the horror over the gang rape of the 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh in Delhi had given impetus to the campaign. “In India, One Billion Rising is at the centre of the biggest breakthrough in sexual violence ever seen,” she says.

Kamla Bhasin, a feminist campaigner in the continent for more than 30 years, says each country is taking a different approach – from the astonishing mass movement in Bangladesh, organised by Brac, one of the world’s largest NGOs, to Afghanistan, where “there will be no dancing and no singing but people still want to say, ‘Enough is enough’”.

The idea of dancing to stop violence has understandably attracted naysayers, even among committed supporters, but two videos, among hundreds, sum up how Ensler’s idea inspires campaigners. The first is the one that launched the new anthem written and produced by Grammy-award-winning Tena Clark, Break the Chain , with a video choreographed by Debbie Allen, who went on to make her own accompanying “how to” dance video. The second is one produced by campaigners in Norwich. Without the involvement of the sort of Hollywood A-listers – Robert Redford, Jane Fonda – usually associated with Ensler, it’s still hugely effective. Local organisers were keen to show that the campaign is supported by men and boys as well as women.

Much of the effort in the UK has been concentrated on changing sex education in schools to embrace relationships and violence. A cross-party group including Labour MP Stella Creasy and Conservative MP Amber Rudd is hoping for parliamentary time on 14 February to vote on making “personal, social and health education a requirement in schools, including a zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships”.

Efforts to get the government to recognise the campaign itself have so far failed to gain much ground. In the latest parliamentary debate, foreign office minister Hugo Swire restricted himself to pointing out that the government took such violence seriously and warned women to be careful when going abroad.

In the US, veteran campaigner Pat Reuss is also hoping to use support for OBR in every state to resuscitate the Violence Against Women Act that provides protection for victims, yet which Congress failed to reauthorise last year.

When asked which country she has been most amazed by, Ensler rattles off a list of action – from those protesting against sex trafficking in Mexico to mass activity in the Philippines. She adds that the 50 cities preparing events in Italy took her by surprise. “That was a real turning point for me,” she says. “Fifty cities in Italy!”

Campaigners are already wondering what will happen after V-day. “The dancing will be amazing but more important is what’s happening to move violence against women to the forefront of the agenda,” says Ensler. “It will never be a marginalised issue again … At this point it really feels like a wave with a life of its own.”

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February 11, 2013 10:02:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Smells like politics to me.

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February 11, 2013 10:05:37 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

I don't like violence against women.  Then again, I don't like violence against men either.

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February 11, 2013 10:40:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

When you look at it, there is a lot more violence against women, because they are considered lesser, then there is violence against men.  There's no denying women are discriminated against even in software development and games circles, as Frogboy himself has mentioned, and it certainly aint because they aren't as good as the men.

This isn't about a political discussion, this is about letting people know of an important event aiming to make it just a little bit fairer for, you know, half or more of the world's population - including some undoubtedly at Stardock?

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February 11, 2013 10:42:55 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Of course its politics. Violence against women is as old as the human race is. They were always thought to be inferior. It took the Suffrage movement and the 60's to give them a voice loud enough to be heard. Here at least discrimination against women violates the constitution. It should be that way everywhere. What will it take before people get the message, until the opposite sex is an endangered species? They bear our children. No more women no more us as in when the last oldest dies................kaput!

End of story.

Rant over.

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February 11, 2013 10:45:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, way back in time, women were the leaders.  And I'm sure as a group-wide statistic they didn't beat up their husbands or rape them very much.

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February 11, 2013 10:50:29 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Men are more likely to be the victims of all violent crimes except rape.

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February 11, 2013 10:52:51 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Way back when there were brains and brawn. Women had the brains. Us guys did all the hard work. See....them gals ain't stupid. 

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February 11, 2013 11:04:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Just say no to violence against women.

At the same time we all need to say yes to "Save The Ta-Tas".

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February 11, 2013 11:18:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's up for each person to decide what they will do regarding the special day.  I didn't intend for a political discussion, but I did want to let Stardock fans and employees know that the event existed.

Well, that's all I have to say on this topic.  Do with it what you will.

Oh, and happy 2013, and may it be your best year yet!

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February 11, 2013 11:50:21 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Any violence against any other person regardless of gender, age, race, whether premeditated or indiscriminate is something we all need to acknowledge needs to stop. 

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February 11, 2013 12:38:19 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Agreed!

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February 11, 2013 12:50:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree too, but at first it helps to have a focus! Helping reduce violence against women will help reduce violence generally so that it becomes the norm.  And females have tended to be a very discriminated against section of society which probably makes up more than half of all people.

Violence and prejudice/discrimination in whatever form only exist while the majority of people tolerate it.  When people start en masse to disagree strongly, it can and will be stopped.

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February 11, 2013 1:23:20 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

We each have our causes and try to find the most effective way to support them. 

I have found it extremely difficult though when attempting to determine as in this case, violence against whom is more despicable. 

I'll leave you and the others who comment here to your own thoughts.  I have my own. 

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February 11, 2013 2:43:31 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Violence against myself and people like me is the worst.

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February 11, 2013 3:50:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jythier,
I don't like violence against women. Then again, I don't like violence against men either.

I deplore violence full stop.  Sadly, though, the human race will continue to be violent, aggressive and hostile because of all the unholy things that drive it... and unholy is not used in a religious sense, rather that mankind does deplorable things.

The other thing I like to see stop... governments, ALL governments sending their young men and women as cannon fodder to fight their causes.

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February 11, 2013 4:10:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Violence is a tool.  If you want to be rid of a behavioral tool, you have to replace it.  Flashmobs and bongo drums may help in bringing to light how pervasive the problem is.  But it's not going to stop it.  People do violence, because violence is a tool that gets them what they want at that moment.  

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February 11, 2013 9:16:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You make a good point, Philly0381.  Violence against anyone is deplorable.  But I do think the world is changing for the better.  It just is in a state of flux at the moment.

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February 11, 2013 11:23:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Love for our women. They are our mothers, lovers and daughters. As vastly evolved as our cerebral cortexes have developed over the rest of the animal kingdom, apparantly the emotional compartments produce behaviors quite Neanderthal. Or simian.

..." hoping to use support for OBR in every state to resuscitate the Violence Against Women Act that provides protection for victims, yet which Congress failed to reauthorise last year."

Well since we all hunters and gatherers not so long ago and for so long at that, can we really transcend our mortal nature? After all, mind is born of brain, which is mere flesh.

It would be truly amazing if for 10 years we could pool all of our mental efforts into furthering mankind's (kind?) interrelations with each other and this planet.

As if.

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February 12, 2013 9:13:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Things change on the world when enough people change.  I don't think it has always been dog eat dog, or always will be.  But I am looking forward to a bright future.

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