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One Billion Rising: Global Day of Action, Fighting Violence Against Women

Screenshot aus dem Kurzfilm "One Billion Rising" von Eve Ensler

Screenshot from Eve Ensler's short film “One Billion Rising”

Every third woman falls victim to rape or abuse in her lifetime. With the world-population of seven billion, this means that one billion women and girls are being confronted with, or personally experience, violence daily. More than 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not regarded a crime. According to a press release from the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's campaign, ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women', as many as 70% of women experience some sort of violence.

The press release also states that the probability of a woman between the ages of 15 and 44 years being raped or suffering domestic violence is higher than contracting cancer or malaria, being involved in a motor vehicle accident, or affected by war.

One_Billion_Rising_-_logo_-_01

One Billion Rising Logo, V-Day Advertisment

Faced with these alarming figures, the organisation V-Day initiated the international campaign One Billion Rising. This rapidly growing movement demands the end of violence against women and girls, and calls for equal rights; they aim to reach and sensitise as wide an audience as possible.

Therefore, on February 14, 2013 one billion people are called upon worldwide to participate in demonstrations. All over the world, men and women will “strike, dance and rise” in public places and announce their solidarity through other directed activities.

One Billion Rising is a campaign which concerns everyone. By now more than 13,000 different initiatives have been organised in over 190 countries, with the number of activities rising daily.

Swiss blogger Nathalie Sassine-Hauptmann writes in her blog Clack [de] about this “feminist wave” [de]:

Zurzeit feiern weibliche Proteste grosse Erfolge – zumindest in den Medien. Nach #Aufschrei kommt jetzt der Aufstand. Lokale Aktionen und globale Resonanz zeichnen «One Billion Rising» aus: Um gegen Gewalt an Frauen zu protestieren, werden 190 Länder am «day to rise», dem 14. Februar 2013 an einem gigantischen Flashmob teilnehmen. Niemand ist darüber mehr überrascht als Eve Ensler, Initiantin und Autorin der «Vagina-Monologe». «Es geht über Klassen, soziale Gruppen und Religion hinaus. Es ist wie ein enormer feministischer Tsunami.» berichtete sie dem englischen «Guardian» gerührt.

Currently women's protests are enjoying great successes – at least in the media. After #Aufschrei [outcry, a popular anti-sexism hashtag] comes revolt. Local actions and global response distinguish “One Billion Rising”. To protest against violence against women, 190 countries will take part in a gigantic flashmob on the “day to rise”, on February 14, 2013.
No one is more surprised about this than Eve Ensler, initiator and author of Vagina-Monologues. “It is beyond the scope of classes, social groups and religion. It is like an enormous feminist Tsunami”, she shares with the Guardian.

Local protests range from the first Somali flashmob ever in Mogadishu, protest marches on the Scottish isle of Bute, to a large-scale rally in India and a huge dance event in Bangladesh.

Karte mit allen geplanten Veranstaltungen in Deutschland

Map of all events planned in Germany to date

In Germany alone, more than 120 events like dance demos, human chains, theater shows, anti-violence seminars, etc. will take place. In Switzerland, the Feministische Friedensorganisation (cfd) [de] and PeaceWomen Across the Globe (PWAG) [de] initiated a joint platform, on which the Swiss organisers can network, exchange ideas and projects; for continuous publishing of events happening in Switzerland. So far, flashmobs in Basel, Bern, Zürich, Genf, WorbThun, Lugano, Biel, Lausanne and Gümligen have been planned. This movement is unbelievably dynamic, since people are able to connect through social media and personally contribute to this global action with individual creativity and commitment.

Karte mit allen bisher geplanten Veranstaltungen in der Schweiz

Map of all events planned in Switzerland to date

There are already 138 video contributions on the YouTube channel of V-Day, showing men and women from around the world explaining why they will take to the streets on February 14.

Blogger Helga Hansen [de] from Braunschweig, Germany, who writes for German feminist association, Mädchenmannschaft [de], recorded a personal video statement:

Sharon Adler, awarded “Berlin's Woman of the Year 2012″, and founder of the online journal AVIVA-Berlin [de], took part in this video action as well:

More statements [de] from men and women in Germany are found in the blog Die Münchnerin [de].

Luziehfair writes on German writers’ blog Ausrufern [de]:

Nachdem ich in der letzten Zeit unter anderem Diskussionen um Unwörter des Jahres verfolgen durfte und die aktuelle Sexismusdebatte in den Medien (vermutlich auch an den Stammtischen, aber das ist ja nicht mehr mein Millieu) die skurrilsten Formen annimmt und sich zeitgleich überall auf der Welt Tragödien wie in Indien abspielen, möchte ich mal konstruktiv werden:
“Eine von drei Frauen auf diesem Planeten wird im Laufe ihres Lebens geschlagen oder vergewaltigt. Das sind eine Milliarde Frauen, denen Gewalt angetan wird … ein unfassbares Greuel. Am 14. Februar 2013 läd der V-Day eine Milliarde Frauen dazu ein, raus zu gehen, zu tanzen und sich zu erheben, um das Ende dieser Gewalt zu fordern. [...] Wir zeigen der Welt unsere kollektive Stärke und unsere globale Solidarität über alle Grenzen hinweg. [...]“

Das ist der Aufruf der Kampagne One Billion Rising und ich finde, er gehört gehört. Soll Gehör bekommen.

Lately I have had a chance to follow, among others, discussions around the “non-words of the year”, the current sexism debate in the media (probably also the cracker barrel, although that is no longer my milieu) is taking on the most bizarre forms, and simultaneously, tragedies like [rape] in India happening all over the world, I would like to be constructive:
“One of three women on this planet is beaten or raped during her lifetime. That is one billion women, who suffer from violence…an inconceivable horror. On February 14, 2013, V-day invites a billion women to go out, dance and rise up, to demand the end of this violence against women. [...] We show the world our collective strength and our global solidarity beyond all borders. [...]“

This is the appeal of the campaign One Billing Rising and I think it needs to be heard. It must be heard.

Luziehfair also refers to the trailer of Eve Ensler's touching short film (Caution: Trigger Warning):

Meanwhile, Frauenblog [women's blog] [de] is thinking about afterwards:

Und hier kommt die Frage nach dem Danach ins Spiel. Macht es Sinn, diese Entwicklungen in Gang zu setzen und danach die Aktion zu beenden? Wünschenswert wäre es mit Sicherheit, hier eine Kontinuität anbieten zu können. Doch nicht jeder Event kann auf Dauer angelegt werden, dafür haben wir einfach nicht genug Kapazitäten und Kraftreserven. Aber: Ein solcher „Event“ entsteht ja auch nicht aus dem Nichts, sondern es ist eingebettet in bereits vorhandene Strukturen, die auch am Tag danach noch existieren und ihre gewohnte Arbeit fortsetzen. Sollten sich im Anschluss an One Billion Rising […] Frauen finden, die sich dieser Bewegung anschließen, sei es als regionale V-Day-Gruppe oder als Verstärkung in den bereits existierenden Frauengruppen vor Ort, so wäre dies neben unserem öffentlichen Statement:„Wir sind hier, wir sind überall, wir sind stark, wir sind laut, wir lassen uns nicht mehr zum Schweigen bringen“ ein großartiger Erfolg.

This is where the question of afterwards arises. Does it make sense to launch these developments, only to end the action afterwards? Sure, it would be desirable to offer continuity, but not every event can be maintained, we simply do not have the capacity or strength. But: such an event does not emerge out of nowhere, it is embedded in already existing structures, which continue to exist and execute their work in the days after. By connecting with One Billion Rising [...], should women join this movement, whether it be a regional V-Day-group or to support an already existing local women's group, this would be a monumental success, in tune with our public statement: We are here, we are everywhere, we are strong, we are loud, we will no longer be silenced”.

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