Every February, One Billion Rising (OBR), a unique and creative revolution and one of the largest-scale mobilisations to end violence in women, takes place in hundreds of streets around the world. The annual march, which started in 2012, grew out of the V-Day Campaign, an international movement to end violence against women, started by from "The Vagina Monologues" author, Eve Ensler.
Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reveal that one in three women will become victims of rape or abuse in her lifetime, which defined the cause to which the global movement stands for. Hoping to help put an end to this, One Billion Rising is set to have more creative and radical movement to condemn and take action against these inequalities.
Now on its fourth year, the OBR event, with the theme “Rise for Revolution,” features an escalated artistic and creative uprising in multiple cities around the world, fighting for the end of labour abuse and sexual trafficking women experience. “Rising revolutions” have started in London, Paris and New York, where thousands of women marched in streets asking for climate justice, which is identified as another issue that makes women vulnerable. Labour rights groups are protesting police killings of black women in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza. College campuses are taking part by setting up activities that call for the end of sexualised violence against women.
The campaign celebrates four years of support from women in all walks of life, women’s rights activists all over the world and small communities which take part in this annual crusade to bring an end to violence in women. More than 200 countries participate in the One Billion Rising campaign through various events and activities, aiming to create awareness to the injustice women are facing today. Here are some of the global activities for OBR’s cause.
In Bangladesh, an OBR event is coordinated by Khushi Kabir, one of the many women actively and passionately involved in working with marginalized men and women in the country.
According to BDNEWs24, the event took place in Dhaka last February 6 where hundreds of people witnessed performances, including speeches from renowned women’s rights activists. The list included One Billion Rising founder and playwright Eve Ensler, OBR global director Monique Wilson, women’s rights advocate Muktasree Chakma and OBR coordinator for Bangladesh Farhin Kabir. It was also marked with performances by pro-feminists groups including, SPaRC, Ghashphoring Choir, Samgeet and It’s A She Thing.
“One billion people are suffering, and we behave like nothing is wrong,” said women’s rights advocate, Chakma, in her speech. The event was capped off with an eye-opening statement from Chakma, who added that violence against women is more than just women’s issue alone, but the society as a whole.
OBR global director Monique Wilson told CNN Philippines that there is a need to escalate the call for this global revolution. Together with OBR founder Eve Ensler, they discussed global issues that affect women such as sexual abuse, economic abuse and labour issues.
Wilson, joined by grassroots Filipino organisation for marginalised women, Gabriela, called on economic violence as a form of violence towards women, as opposed to just sexual violence.
Lined up events for One Billion include a “rising revolution” in places in the country where violence in women, abuse in children and poverty are more rampant. One such place is Tondo, a slum area in Manila that is witness to flooding, makeshift houses and poverty everyday. Tacloban, which was ravaged by the Typhoon Haiyan, will have activities for the local women devastated by the super typhoon. Cebu will have events centring on the fight against child pornography. On February 14, One Billion Rising in the Philippines had a major event in Luneta, where thousands of women joined.
In relation to the large-scale mobilisation of women around the world, thanks to One Billion Rising, there are also movements for the long run for women that benefit and work with V-day campaigns. For instance, disenfranchised and abused women find their way through the Walter and Lalita Janke Charitable Foundation. Lalita Janke, who is also the board president of the US National Committee for UN Women, has committed to her lifelong crusade to end violence in women through being directly involved in women empowerment and education.
“One Billion Rising is not just an annual event. It is a big and bold reminder that violence against women is still rife in our society, and that we must move, individually and collectively, to end this. We must also prevent injustices from happening to women in our communities, and be committed, long-term, to act on these convictions,” Lalita Janke said in an email.
As such, Lalita and her husband, esteemed surgeon Dr. Walter Janke has set up programs and foundations, such as the Walter and Lalita Janke Charitable Foundation, that work with helping battered women regain their self-respect through education and be empowered through honing different skills.
Women all over the world dance to the tune of the fight against violence against women in all forms through global uprising and worldwide movements. As the foundation believed, the call to a braver, bolder and more tangible resolution to women’s unmet demands for equality is more evident in today’s society.