One Billion Rising protests planned for V-Day to end Violence against Women and Girls

V-Day -A Global call to action

By Melanie Nathan, Feb 12, 2014.

Free Gender Activists outside SA Parliament 2011
Free Gender Activists outside SA Parliament 2011

South Africa – On February 14, South Africa will be part of a global movement for change – ONE BILLION RISING, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Sonke Gender Justice and partners will take to a rooftop overlooking Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, and welcome dawn rising on Table Mountain in Cape Town, to express their outrage, demand change, and RISE against injustice, demanding an end to violence against women.

ONE BILLION RISING is a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls. Featuring flash mobs and a dance sequence choreographed by legendary dancer Debbie Allen, the campaign invites women and those who love them to walk out, dance, rise up, and break the chain of violence.

In Cape Town, Sonke is organising a dawn ceremony on Table Mountain, including inviting people to join in the “Break the Chain” dance. The ceremony will be joined by the Honorable Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini. There will also be performances of the dance at Sonke’s Cape Town office and Cape Town station.

In Johannesburg, Sonke, in partnership with Rosebank College, will bring together activists from Soweto and students to the rooftop of Rosebank College to dance, strike and rise overlooking the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge. From there, the group will walk to the main campaign event, to be held at Constitutional Hill as they remember Anene Booysen, the 17-year-old teenager who was brutally gang raped, mutilated and left to die in a Western Cape settlement.

“There has been a lot of public outrage about the tragedy of Anene Booysen”, says Sonke’s chairperson Sisonke Msimang. We are asking that people channel their outrage into action, to stand up and demand change now, change in our society, our communities, and ourselves. One by one, we can make a difference. We ask the government to respond decisively to the national crisis we are confronting”.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day. “When we started V-Day, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said founder Eve Ensler. “Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that this global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities, and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign”.

“We call on men and boys especially to hold one another accountable for their actions in the public and private spheres,” says Sonke’s Government and Media Relations Manager Mbuyiselo Botha. “We must say enough is enough, NOT IN MY NAME. Men and boys must rise and take action to stop violence against women in our country”.

South Africa is known as the rape capital of the world. It is said that one in four women are raped in South AFrica. Lesbians in South Africa are particular targets for the added hate motive attached to rape in the crime which has become known as “corrective” rape.

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