The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
One in three women will experience violence in her lifetime, which means one billion women alive at this moment will be facing some form of violence which is a more prevalent problem than any other disease, according to U.N statistics. ‘One Billion Rising’ was an event conceived by Eve Ensler, who is famous for her play ‘The Vagina Monologues’ 15 years ago.
India is one among the worst in G20 countries for many forms of violence against women including child marriages, female feticides, honor killings, war, domestic violence and suicides. In some cases, their deaths are not even counted for. P.Sainath writes:
One group that is not counted is women farmers who do the bulk of the work in the fields, and are driven to suicide by poverty and loans they could never repay. They are not considered farmers because the land is not in their name, and in most States they do not have land rights.
Reports from the online and mainstream media show Indians participating in huge numbers across the country and India trending at the forefront of the global campaign.
The One Billion Rising event encouraged women to gather at some place to strike, dance, and rise against violence. There were many videos circulating online encouraging women to participate . Singer Anoushka Shankar’s video on why she was rising on Feb 14th went viral on social media sites.
Video Volunteers posted a story of a 19 year old for the rising.
One Billion Rising: Rise to support Chanchal:
On 21/10/2012, four men threw acid on Chanchal, 19 and her sister,15 while they were asleep. This was a direct result of Chanchal’s bold move to oppose continuous sexual harassment by these men. In the above video, Chanchal’s family has given a public statement seeking justice from Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar and DIG Weaker Sections, Arvind Pandey.
Indianhomemaker had pages of pictures on Guragon rising.
On the same day in Kerala a woman was harassed by eve teasers and she took it upon herself to thrash the eve teasers. Amrita, the brave girl tells the media that she would have felt worthless if she didn’t react when everybody else was silent, especially after participating in the one billion rising event.
Piyasree Dasguptaa on First Post comments that the campaign could turn into a fancy carnival:
For example, the NCRB report points out that city or town where the number of crimes went up the most in 2011, almost by 87 percent, is Asansol – an industrial town in Bengal, far away from Kolkata where the One Billion Rising campaign was unfurling in full force.
So what’s the answer? Should we stop protest – of the elaborate kind that uses the most popular aspects of our culture? No. But we also have to find a way to make it not look like a carnival that not everyone has a taste for.
Kamayani writes on her blog why the event in Mumbai is unique:
In Mumbai what it is unique about this is event is being ‘ most diverse and inclusive”, we have women representing variosy marginalized sections of our society- the disabled, dalit, sexual minorities, muslims ,participating to say no to violence, and to also give a message that women with different needs have different rights
Subhajit das writes about why he thinks such gender exclusive movements might not find the desired results especially in Kolkata:
Gender exclusive movements, are in essence, problematic, because a) they fail to recognize that a particular social problem is limited to (a “definitive” interpretation of) one gender. In this case, the organizers seem to be in denial of the fact that sexual violence in Calcutta is not limited only to women, or rather, the concept of women that has been biologically “pigeonholed”, thus categorized as the female sex, or those identifying as women; judging from personal experiences, “males” of varying gender expressions get sexually harassed, too.
A picture with a different perspective to the rising was circulating on Facebook with the tag line:
Because “sex workers also have rights, just like you and I”
Balu Menon writes on Facebook:
I also agree..Women's awakening is the only way to have better MEN!
Jo Stroebel shared a picture of women drumming for the one billion rising event in Kochi:
Below are some interesting tweets about the One billion Rising campaign across the country:
@EsteKelvaredhel (Likla): Mumbai rose in a way @eveensler would have been proud!
@The_AK_84: (Ashutosh Kumar @The_AK_84) OneBillionRising looks like a success only on twitter and virtual world. Not more then 1000 ppl at spot in Delhi including media, organisers
@RuchiraSingh (Ruchira Singh): Women of age groups and from all walks of life are walking in. Some greeting each other ‘Happy OBR', delhi is celebrating #onebillionrising!
@tetisheri (Lily ) Headed to parliament street. Blank noise doing a clothes installation to say “I never ask for it”. #onebillionrising #delhi
shahid @shahidnissar(shahid @shahidnissar) @sardesairajdeep sir its day 6 of curfew sponsored by state, kashmir cannot be a part of #onebillionrising @BDUTT
@davidpakh (David Pakhuongte) One billion rising : kashmir to kanyakumari, kutch to kolkata. Where is the North East on your map? #onebillionrising #ndtv
@caslet (Cassandra Wright):
Was just at the #onebillionrising rally in Chennai, India. Great to feel the solidarity across the globe. It's horrible what women here face
@parveendusanj (Parveen Dusanj) #OneBillionRising in India we have women that inflict violence (physical & mental) on other women. That's the worst kind. Must STOP
Zena's message on twitter sums up the rising:
@zenacostawrites (Zena Costa) #OneBillionRising Let's create a society where women are not killed for honor, but honored for life ! #JusticeForWomen #India #VDAY #VAW