“We have to stop violence against women, and when that happens everything in the world will change,” said Oscar-winning actress, author, and activist Jane Fonda when speaking about the V-Day organization's 1 Billion Rising movement; a global day of action protesting to end violence against women and girls. On Valentine's Day, the 1 Billion Rising campaign had people from all over the world dancing. Literally. From Times Square, to the Congo, to Australia, to the streets of Los Angeles-where Fonda was; women and men of all ages and all walks of life took to the streets to dance and 'rise' in solidarity to help end discrimination against the female population.
V-Day, founded by author and activist Eve Ensler is a global movement working to end both sexual and physical violence against women and girls. Ensler's 1 Billion Rising campaign was born from the rage immersing from the staggering statistics from the UN that now reveal that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime-leading to an approximate number of 1 billion women on the planet that will be physically violated.
“I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke.....I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice. I am over one in three women in the U.S military getting raped by their so-called "comrades."” said Ensler, who herself has been outspoken about being sexually abused as a child. “...the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself,” Ensler wrote in her Huffington Post piece “Over It”.
And many are over it. 205 countries have committed to the dance today. Several celebrities have spoken to show their support of 1 Billion Rising. Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Rosario Dawson are just some of the actresses who serve on the board of V-Day. “I'm going to be dancing to try to end violence against women,” said Hathaway at the Berlin Film Festival last week. “It's about transforming pain into power,” said Washington in her V-Day video(vday.org). The ABC "Scandal" star has been actively involved with V-Day for many years. The organization celebrates its 15th year anniversary today.
And it's not just women in Hollywood who are protesting to end the violation of women's bodies. Robert Redford is just one of the many men using his voice to bring awareness to the cause. “This is not a woman's issue; it's a global crisis,” said Redford.
Ensler has taken her work all over the world and is currently 'rising' in Congo for this landmark day to break the silence
“We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine -- once and for all -- what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of global rape,” Ensler explained.
And that's what 1 Billion rising has been about: helping to empower survivors and give them confidence to know that what happened is not their shame, but that of the violator.
“Today the dancing begins and with this dancing we express our outrage and joy and our firm global call for a world where women are free and safe and cherished and equal. Dance with your body, for your body, for the bodies of women and the earth.” (The Guardian)
To learn more about V-Day, visit www.vday.org