It takes guts, drive and determination to start a revolution. Fortunately Eve Ensler has enough for all of us. One Billion Rising is her brilliant idea and a revolution is exactly what she is trying to create. But it’s a revolution with a difference: no guns, no battles and definitely no violence. #1billionrising, #reasontorise @vday
Because One Billion Rising is about trying to end violence against women all round the world by persuading people to strike, dance and rise on 14 February. Why dance? Because “Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction but we go there together. It’s dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive. It breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere at anytime with anyone and everyone. It’s free. No corporation can control it. It joins us and pushes us to go further. It’s contagious and it spreads quickly. It’s of the body. It’s transcendent.”
Which is possibly all a little other worldly and discomfiting for Scots but it makes its point. Dancing is something we can all join in with, to make a physical expression of our demands for a different world, one in which women do not live daily with the threat of violence. Sexual, physical and emotional violence stalk women wherever they live in the world. It’s used as a weapon of war, it’s used as a weapon of oppression and of persecution, at every level in women’s lives.
The new Chief Constable for the Scottish police force, Stephen House has chosen domestic abuse as his number one target. He needs to. Despite years of campaigning, the number of women who continue to experience domestic abuse grows. Reported incidents to the police rose 7% last year and the worrying thing is that the age of the victims and perpetrators is getting younger. Women are most at risk of being abused between the ages of 22 and 25 years.
More women are being raped and sexually assaulted too and the figures on children being sexually abused are also up. We live in a culture and society where sex sells everything and anything, where sexualisation begins at a younger and younger age and where we are having to teach children how to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex.
And we live in a culture where justice is hard to come by. Ask Frances Andrade’s family just how hard.
It’s not just at home, women all over the world live in fear of sexual abuse and violence, as Eve Ensler’s powerful blog testifies.
But it’s not just women’s problem to solve. Men are part of the solution – it’s not enough for men to say that’s not me, I don’t do that and turn away and get on with life. Men must take a stand and demand change too. Which is why the work of the Violence Reduction Unit in rolling out its Mentors in Violence programme is so important. It works with young people encouraging them to become bystanders, to object to inappropriate treatment of girls and young women they know, for the majority to stop being silent.
One Billion Rising is a global attempt to focus on a global problem. And it’s easy to get involved. Set up your own dancing strike or join an event near you. Spend some of 14 February challenging mores and attitudes by taking a public stand. Get up. Stand up. Dance.
One in every three women will be raped or beaten or abused in their lifetimes. That’s one billion women. And it’s one billion women too many.
Join One Billion Rising and take part in a global strike. Join women and men you know in saying enough. Dance and show your solidarity with women all over the world. And let’s all stop accepting violence against women and girls as a given.
There are events happening all over Scotland. A flashmob in St Andrew’s Square. A dance at the Constitutional Futures Forum gender equality event during the lunch hour.
A dance protest outside the Scottish Parliament. A Nia dance class in Burntisland. A street parade in Kirkcaldy. An evening event at Stereo in Glasgow. Lunchtime dance in Union Street, Aberdeen. And one on Bute. And a Zumba class in Beith in Ayrshire. An evening rising in Kelso and a street event in Forres. Communities large and small,all over Scotland, taking part.
Join them and on 14 February, strike, rise, dance.