Eve Ensler has instigated a revolutionary movement, with the One Billion Rising, it is what she calls a “woman spring”, mirroring activism in the Arab world.
“We want to shake the globe (literally!) and announce that
it’s time to end violence against women and girls,”
One Billion Rising, the largest global action to end violence against women and girls in human history, is launching its third year with One Billion Rising: Revolution, a new escalation that calls for a radical shift to end the global epidemic of abuse that women face worldwide. The United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet has been beaten or raped during her lifetime, which amounts to more than one billion women living on the planet today. Clearly, it calls for a tidal wave of billions of people rising everywhere to take a public stand against violence and say enough is Enough!
The OBR campaign, which took off in 2012-13, is aimed at empowering women and girls across the world to become catalysts of change in their own neighborhood, city and society. In 2012-2013, post the December 16 gang rape that shook the world, the One Billion Rising Campaign created space for people to use creative and non violent means to evocatively express their resentment, anguish and despair. People reported being moved by the sheer energy that the process unleashed and expressed itself in a public outpouring of solidarity with all victims and most saliently for enabling every person to speak up and rid themselves of all the dark memories they had been burdened with over many years.
“One Billion Rising provides us with an opportunity to take our philosophy to the global stage. Our goal is to see the one billion women on this planet who have been abused rise up as one. I know some people think, why dance? Why not do something more “serious” or more political? I know and the women I work with know that dance is both these things; dance is a symbol of all we wish to see in the world. I believe that women across the world must dance until we are free. “Shohini Chakraborty
On a larger scale, the issue of violence against women is now in the forefront of public discourse, garnering worldwide attention, leading to changes in laws, greater demand for justice and an end to the rampant impunity that women survivors of gender based violence face. The One Billion Rising Campaign has also encouraged youth to use creative means, like dance flash mobs, art, music and creative expression to share their pain, rage and views on ending violence, keeping the issue visible, alive and in public memory.
In 2013-2014, the One Billion Rising Campaign for Justice
The second year of the campaign saw people speaking out against actual and potential miscarriage of justice, especially in cases of violence against women. Despite the public outrage post December 16, changes in laws, and the public debate on violence, many things were yet to change with sections of people who persisted in blaming women and asking why the woman went to sleep in the Uber taxi or go out drinking. Many prominent persons, or people in authority and power, have made derogatory statements about women in general, or prescribed various illogical and irrational ways to prevent violence, which curtails women’s freedom and rights, smacks of moral policing, victim blaming, and a shrinking of spaces that are due to women. This is hardly a solution, in fact, we need to rise above the many odds and ensure safe spaces for women to walk free, head held high knowing that they belong and are respected.
However the cry for justice was not always in keeping with the rule of law. Many demanded retributive justice, summary trials, public hanging and capital punishment. This is not the justice envisioned by us. Justice could have different connotations for each of the survivors of violence and those highly vulnerable to it. Most need closure to the violence experienced by them. It could be confronting the abuser, speaking their truth, their stories being acknowledged, to be heard and validated and healed. The OBR has created a space to articulate what Justice meant for all women- survivors of and those vulnerable to violence.
One Billion Rising’s greatest gift is to remind us that we are not alone, that we are all connected.” Nandita Shah