Friday, 15 February 2013


Yesterday was Valentine's Day and as usual practically barricaded into my house under the sea of letters, chocolates and teddy bears from all my adoring fans. Ok, maybe not. But I did spend a lot of my day on Twitter (and not in the usual 'please let me avoid this essay' way I usually do!).

This is because yesterday was the 15th anniversary of V-Day and the One Billion Rising campaign. For those of you not in the know One Billion Rising is a campaign that was started by the V-Day organisation and playwright come activist Eve Ensler and is a campaign to stop violence and abuse against women through rising up, dancing and striking! The campaign can be used to tackle many different things and it's up to the individual dancer what she or he is dancing for, as Eve said in an article with The Guardian it can be "to end FGM, to remember their daughter's rape, to stop sex slavery, to educate young boys and girls about non-violence sexual relations". Whatever you feel most strongly about the important thing is we are all strong, all rising and all making a change! The campaign started just over a year ago and can now be found in 205 countries and is supported by many celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

But can it really make a change? I mean, I dance a lot and often very badly (just ask anyone who's been out in Norwich on a Friday night). It's difficult to imagine it making a difference! But the answer is yes! Of course maybe your actual funky chicken won't change the world - but the act of millions, billions of us rising up in solidarity is sure to send a message - the violence must stop! V-Day themselves put it beautifully when they say:

"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"

And now for the shocking bit. You might ask "Why does it affect me? I've never been abused, I've never been in a violent relationship or been assaulted. Why should I care?" Well I'll tell you why with cold, hard, horrible facts. One in every three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. One in three. I can't get over this fact, think about how many women you pass when walking down the street, your sisters, friends, daughters, teachers! One in three. If the facts don't make you wanna boogie then there were some heartbreaking stories circulating on Twitter, such as Marie who was kidnapped and raped for 8 months when she was 13 in Congo, or Barbara Italia Mendez in Guatemala who was blamed for her own rape and murder or South African Noxolo Nogwaza who was raped and murdered for being a lesbian. The list goes on and on. 

Together we must stand. Man, woman, whatever it doesn't matter anymore! It doesn't matter who we are as individuals, it's far more important to consider what we can do together. Together we can be the One Billion Rising.

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