One Billion Rising
I’ve been thinking about this post for a month now. It’s probably one of the most important things I’ve ever written in my life.
This isn’t about to be one of those “bloggy” blog posts. So if you are looking for a “how-to”, a fashion roundup, or a few pictures of some cute kids then I guess you have to keep it moving. Not that there’s anything wrong with those. In fact, I’ve done a few of them myself. But there is a time and place for everything. And now is the time to act.
If you want to read on for something that is going to pull at your heart strings and maybe even something that might be hard to ingest, but something that will call you to action, then this is for you.
Valentine’s Day is a hallmark holiday of astronomical chocolate consumption, the increased consumerism of ugly stuffed animals and the delivery of thousands of bouquets of roses.
Cupid has become synonymous with love.
I say love is synonymous with love.
And this February 14th, I want you to love harder than you’ve ever loved before. I want you to love those you don’t even know. And then… I want you to dance.
One in four women is raped. A billion women around the world have been raped or beaten. I know such women. Personally. And it’s affected me to my core. With statistics like this, you probably know such a woman too. But perhaps some are unaware because it is such a painful topic to discuss. Somehow there is a sense of shame associated with- not necessarily the perpetuator him/herself, but with the act itself. This needs to stop. This topic must be addressed in the open, not just in the solitary confines of a therapist’s office or the deep, dark corners of homes.
While professional therapy and selective discussions with trusted individuals are extremely important and not meant to be demeaned in the slightest, it is also critical in a universe so permeated with violent behavior and stereotypical prejudice against women, to bring awareness to this ever growing disease.
The disease of abuse.
You see, the victim is the most affected. And the effect is for life. The torment and emotional repercussions don’t just end with the abuse. Those she comes into contact with the rest of her life are also affected. The child who witnesses the abuse is affected. The man/woman she may fall in love with later is affected. The child she gives birth to later on, who eventually learns of her mother’s past abuse is affected. Sons &/or daughters who see this behavior may learn to imitate or repeat it and inflict this violence on others. And the cycle continues.
Below are just a few stories I have curated, that have actually MADE the news in the past couple months…
Maybe you heard about the death of the 23-year-old Indian woman who was riding public transit with her male friend when six men took turns raping and beating her. She died in the hospital of severe organ damage due to them inserting an iron rod into her body. Story Here
Or perhaps you saw how 1,000 people in Steubenville, Ohio protested the sheriff’s handling of a rape case involving two 16-year-old high school football players who raped a fellow student at a party last August. Story Here
What about Rani Hong? Do you know her name? She was kidnapped and sold at age 7 by a family friend in India to work in the child slave trade industry. 27 million people are considered modern-day slaves. Hong is now a grown woman and has been safely living in the United States and co-founded the Tronie Foundation. (http://www.troniefoundation.org) Story Here
So, where does all this dancing come in?
One Billion Rising (onebillionrising.org) is the brainchild of Eve Ensler. On Valentine’s day, she and spokespeople like Anne Hathaway (see her interview in THIS Glamour issue if you can get a back issue copy) are calling all people – men, women and children to dance. Whether you join one of the dance movements listed on the website, dance at your cubicle at work, get in a session of Just Dance 4 (my plan), engage your kids in a session of Ring-around-the-rosie or simply take a moment and reflect – DANCE.
I plan to dance, not to celebrate, but to commemorate those who have been, are and will be raped, beaten, sold or killed in the future. It is not enough for us to dance this one day. It’s imperative that we “dance” on the daily. But I pray that you do, even for a moment, join one billion rising this February 14th, because even just one victim is one too many.
For more ways to speak up and make a change, check out my friend’s blog: http://thecathartist.com