ONE BILLION RISING

It’s happening on February 14th, this Valentine’s Day: An international day of action to combat violence against women.

According to united nations’ statistics, ONE BILLION women on the planet are raped or beaten in their lifetimes so, conceived by writer/activist Eve Ensler and her global organization V-Day: Until the Violence Stops, ONE BILLION women and the men who love them will rise up to dance, sing, chant, flash mob, to say “enough!”

The horrible rape in India when a girl on a bus was pulled off, gang raped, brutalized and killed has received world-wide attention and helped raise the level of support for such an ambitious event.

Honor killings and acid attacks against girls who have been raped, genital mutilation, sex trafficking—these are horrors we read about happening in other counties and the perpetrators mostly go unpunished. But one out of every three women and girls in the U.S. are victims of sexual abuse.

If we were to end violence and women were free to thrive rather than survive it will change, everything.

Already, 10s of thousands of organizations in 190 countries are planning to rise.

In Paris, the women’s Coalition of the French Parliament is rising.  In India, nuns, students, teachers, and thousands of people are speaking out, and new laws and prevention education are being introduced.  In Bangladesh, over 25 million have joined OBR and will form human dancing chains across the country.  Our One Billion Rising anthem “Break the Chain” has been translated into Spanish.  In Cape Town, Soweto, and Johannesburg, teen girls are touring schools and teaching the flash mob dance, and all over Africa local TV stations are showing the “Break the Chain” video leading up to the rising.  In the Philippines, nuns, bishops, labor unions and students are rising and will be literally dancing until dawn with a 24 hour One Billion Rising event that will be live streamed around the country. The Dalai Lama and Queen Mother of Bhutan and President of Croatia have all signed on. Events are being organized all over India. Farmworkers, students, actors (Robert Redford, Kerry Washngton, Rosario Dawson are among those rising AND check out Anna Hathaway’s t-shirt and cover story in the latest Glamour magazine) and elected officials all over California are rising. The Incas are rising in Peru. Women in correctional facilities are rising in their prison cells. In Chicago thousands of people will gather in the city center. In New York MTV is sponsoring two jumbo screens in Times Square and asking its entire staff to leave their offices and dance in Times Square; a huge flash mob will take place in the center of Brussels, the European Parliament will be dancing in their chambers, and in Italy, over 50 cities are rising. And I’m just mentioning a few of the things that will happen Feb 14th.

When Eve met His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa at the TED India conference, she was immediately inspired by his commitment to this movement to write a prayer – the Man Prayer. This piece, beautifully brought to life as a short film by Eve Ensler and filmmaker Tony Stroebel, is for all men and we hope all of you will watch it and share it with every man you know.   http://onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/menrise-watch-the-man-prayer .

 
 
This is the first time in history that such an event will happen, that we will stand together in unity across the planet on 2/14 to make sure that violence against women is an issue that no one will ever marginalize again. 

We are asking everyone who rises to pledge to do one thing in the next year to end violence against women.

Why Dancing?

Because dancing is powerful without being violent, because when you dance you take up space and expand your horizons and sense of self and value. Because dancing is “a direct path to the truth” its holy, sexy, can’t be controlled by corporations, its free, contagious, dangerous, done together in community because it has the capacity to turn pain to power and when one billion women and men dance on the planet we will shake humanity into a new consciousness.

Why Valentines Day?

Because V-Day began 15 years ago on Valentines Day and the idea was to make it a day when women were loved and cherished and the violence ended. V stands for Vagina, Victory over Violence, and Valentine.

As philanthropist/activist Jennifer Buffett just said, “This is a MOMENT everybody.  A TRUE MOMENT on planet earth that has not come before and i doubt will be presented to us again and we cannot miss it. The chance to connect and mobilize a billion women and girls, men and boys towards creating a very different kind of world at a time when this one teeters in many ways – socially and environmentally.  Will we remember and regain our humanity and remember what and who is SACRED? Will we show up fully to meet and support what is trying to be born . . . ?!

Sometimes the answer is right in front of us but we just don’t recognize it as such. This is one of those moments. We have an opportunity to catalyze consciousness and EVOLVE and change and affect change . . . and if not now, when???!!!!” 

To find out more, including where the your nearest rising will be on 2/14, to learn the OBR dance and song “Break The Chains”, click V-DAY on my homepage or go to the V-Day website: OneBillionRising.org

I’ll be rising in Los Angeles with V-Day and Zumba! http://www.facebook.com/events/203222443149596/
Thursday, February 14; 6:00 PM at LA Live’s Nokia Plaza, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015

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16 Comments
  1. Astonishing statistics! Awareness and action is a must! How do I find out if there are activities in my area for V Day? Is there a certain time in the day that one should dance? And after this very important day, what organizations are there for me to get involved with to continue to help?

    • Susan, go to the V-DAY website as I suggest in this blog. write and ask them. xxx jf

  2. Thank you. I should have read the last couple paragraphs of your blog more clearly. I went to OneBillionRising.org and discovered it was quite easy to quickly find events in my area. This day seems extremely organized. I know it as been in the works for a long time. Wish I could Zumba in LA with you, but I will just have to settle for an event in the Detroit area. 🙂 For those reading this blog, go to the website. Like I said, you can easily find an event in your area.

  3. Hi Jane,
    Interesting reading about your cleanse. In the UK there’s been a huge amount of interest in Alternate Day Fasting or the 5:2 diet, which was recently shown on the BBC. You eat whatever you want on most days and then fast (500 cals for women/600cals for men) on 2 non-consecutive days of the week. It sounds extreme and it sounds like a weird fad diet, but it has been proven to lower blood pressure, lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, aid in longevity etc. Researchers says that it goes back to our hunter gatherer ancestors who mostly had to fast because there was nothing to eat on certain days.

    Anyway the BBC programme is called ‘Eat, fast and live longer’ (there is a comma between eat and fast!!) 😉

    You can see the programme here:

    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/110651/BBC_Horizon_2012_Eat_Fast_and_Live_Longer/

    It’s fascinating.
    Take care
    Jason

  4. Hi Jane
    it’s super !… you say it will take place in Bruxelles, and in France ?
    I can’t access the site V-Day

  5. I am happy to see activity to end violence against women. But the women of India have shown us the way. They have come to realize that freedom and equality comes from the barrel of a gun. And that is being threatened here by the current gun control hysteria. Surely your visit to Vietnam showed how foolish it is to disarm ourselves? Isn’t there something you could say that might influence us in this most pivotal time?

  6. thank you Jane. I’ll look

  7. Jane, speaking of violence against women, I’m wondering if you have seen this year’s oscar nominated doc The Invisible War. Fascinating and very disturbing.

    • Glenn, it’s a wonderful and important documentary. I write about it in my next blog.

    • it is very disturbing but oh so true as I well know from friends . Sadly many women do not speak of it because of fear of further punishment.
      Also sad is the fact that these males actually believe they have the right to rape women.
      I overheard it once re my daughter.” oh we have to conquer her, she is a strong one. Let’s gang rape her”.
      That really woke me up as my daughter was simply walking down the street.

  8. Thirty winters ago when Eve Ensler published the following essay, “Disarming the Left” in her twice-annual literary journal Central Park she was in her early 30’s, brash and exhuberant, very much who she is today but so much more uncertain of who she was and her place in the world.

    In early 1982 Eve and i had co-founded an arts group that soon thereafter joined Chelsea Against Nuclear Destruction, United! (CANDU!), the group she later credited with teaching her everything there was to know about community organizing. Her V-Day organization is vintage CANDU!, while the kernels of “One Billion Rising!” are readily seen in “Disarming the Left,” which in my view remains the single most important work Eve has written.

    Previously not a “touchy-feely” person nor one who listened to others well i was amazed at the change her recent brush with death has self-evoked within her, mirroring the tonality of her words spoken to in the following passages. After decades of looking toward people like yourself (“Who wouldn’t want to ‘hang out’ with Jane Fonda?” she once wrote, remember?) i watched her for a full 20 minutes as woman after woman came to her to thank her for her vision, much as you yourself remarked a few winters ago in rekindling your own spark! for the craft you know best. She listened, and more importantly, heard. What surprised me most was seeing women whose stature is equally engaged in the world look to her for guidance, when she herself knows only too well she doesn’t have any answers.

    It was shortly afterwards i broached her, after briefly looking at me, unrecognized. “richard?” “Yes.” “You cut your hair.” “Yes.” “You good?” touching my arm lightly, something she would never do, before. Clasping her arm in return, which had lingered, “i wanted you to know i thank’d the Creator for keeping you on the planet.” The tears well’d up as the energy leaped and crackled between us, holding our grasp as old colleagues who hadn’t seen each other in awhile. We understood that moment. She had become one with the self she’d written about so many winters before.

    The work that Eve Ensler and i do, she among the women of the world, and i among an Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, are different patterns of the same cloth. To survive, humans as a species must embrace the 21st Century as The Century of Women, while “If you solve the problems of the Reservation, you Solve the Problem.” Each has a resonance and resilience foundational to the fabric of our time.

    The V-Day Board should meet here, Jane. Not with the fanfare of Pine Ridge, but quietly. Jennifer’s husband has worked with the Ho-Chunks. It can be arranged.

    richard chilton
    Omaha Indian Reservation
    Rosalie Nebraska

    “Disarming the Left” (1983)
    By Eve Ensler

    Each time that the oppressed have tried to set up groups able to exercise a real influence, such groups, whether they went by the names of parties or unions, have reproduced in full within themselves vices of the system which they claimed to reform or abolish, namely bureaucratic organization, reversal of the relationships between means and ends, contempt of the individual, separation between thought and action, the mechanization of thought itself, the exploitation of stupidity and lies as means of propaganda and so on… Simone Weil

    I was drawn to the Nuclear Disarmament Movement through fear, through a developing awareness that living with the nightmare of the twentieth century was no longer tolerable, that the urgency of survival is more than illusion, that the plunge towards massive death is building momentum as I write and as I breathe. How are we to go on living as a planet, as a people who have created the most definite tools of our own dstruction? How are we to rise above this force which corrupts the entire framework of our lives? How are we to generate both the will and imagination capable of fostering a new bginning on this earth? We have been thrown into alien waters, where old solutions do not apply, where theories of other times become null and void. We are living the nightmare where all odds have been pushed to their limit. Either we rise or we fall.

    The Nuclear Disarmament Movement, which has recently gained force and momentum in this country, arose in response to this condition. It was as though we felt a collective and simultaneous awareness of our predictament. The present war-oriented policies of Reagan, the disruption in El Savador, the high unemployment and failing economic conditions, combined with Jonathan Schell’s book THE FATE OF THE EARTH, and our own unconscious and historical fear of holocaust, seemed to mount in a cathartic storm. We were back out there. We were organizing. We were chanting aand marching. And yet for all our good intentions, something was wrong. Wrong in the sense that like most American movements since the sixties, the motivation was and still is primarily rooted in narcissism rather than cause. I define narcissism here as the inability to get beyond one’s own personal history of self and become attached to a larger environment. We cannot afford this nacissism; it is a symtom of the same destructive disease we are supposedly fighting.

    There are two essentially distorted assumptions made by “the left” in this county (I use “left” drawing on my own specific experience working with the Disarmament Movement): one, that because we are working for good, we are good; and two, that because we are struggling we are free. We are bound and devoured by our own narcissism, by the struggle of our egos to assert meaning, to claim a separate ground, to be heard. We are children who were acknowledged for our puppy dog achievements, but never for our separate beings, where the urge remains to let our potential develop, to state the visible, to reclaim the invisible. Our defiance was our identity, our reaction our right to exist. This has not ended. Implicit in this dynamic is the ever triumphant “other” to whom we are still proving ourselves. In order for the left to become an effector of serious uprooting and redirection, we must surrender the hidden agenda that in the end we will be loved for being different.

    We must proceed out of an entirely new framework and motivation, beginning with the assumption that we have a right to exist. We must stop apologizing or asking permission (through our defiance) and begin to act rather than react. We must stop unconsciously restructuring the same hierarchy where there are those at the top who must please and those at the bottom who do not exist. We must begin the crucial work of undoing the internal conditioning which has taught us a system for which we are now only the reactive counterpart. If the work of the left remains contingent upon this hidden agenda, it is doomed to fulfill, if not become, that which it opposes. For within a structure based on “authority/withholder” versus “fighter/needer,” the latter is doomed through lack of fulfillment and in that dissatisfaction reverts to the known methods of authority.

    We need a new structure. It is a challenge which demands the breakdown of familiar boundaries, in which we finally leave our nuclear families and discover a new kind of home. It demands that we stop denying who we are. We must acknowledge our individual desires to be seen, heard, loved and powerful. This denial of our personal agendas often corrupts the movement more severely than outside forces. For “good lefties,” like imprisioned Catholics, bury all their feelings not appropriate to a predetermined image. And yet, these desires do not vanish. They merely reveal themselves in new disguises, and indirectly they are more insidious, whether we witness a leader becoming more and more tyrannical or as group gradually developing a sour and draining quality to it. We must not spare ourselves a total frankness in this evaluation. And yet, we must not be judgemental in the sense that we use this information as punishment. It is dubious whether we will ever fully rid ourselves of these desires, but once we are able to recognize and own them. It Is the invisible reality of things which destroys.

    We must also mourn, individually and collectively, the years of unlove and deprivation. It is through this that we will surrender this illusion that one day we will finally capture this intangible love or acknowledgement from our parents. We will become adults, conscious of our separate stature, no longer motivated by infantile needs. We will begin to provide for one another respect, honesty, hope and an environment of emotional freedom. It is quite evident that behavior in a world sense is no different or less impacting than behavior towards one another on an individual basis. Ultimately the individual work is the only work. We are a sick people. Ideas cannot cure this illness, although they can deny it. We have been contaminated for years, conditioned and starved. What we do have is vision, hope, the intuitive sense of an improved world. Until we are able to recognize this illness within ourselves, to call ourselves part of the problem, we will continue to move “forward into the past.”

    This narcisstic disturbance already manifests itself in three predominately negative ways. First, it emerges in the ever eveolving self-compartmentalization. Our emotional, intellectual, political and spiritual selves are separate and often driving in different directions. One aspect is overdeveloped while another is embryonic. We are divided, split by infantile needs. We are allowed various sets of identities and actions, while we consistently avoid the dilemmas and choas of a central self. That is, of course, the governing metaphor for a national or global condition. We may promote freedom in one country, while supporting fascist violence in another. With help from the media and technology, words or beliefs become objectified realities, separate from out actual living.

    The narcisstic disturbance is also manifest in the obsession with hierarchial organization. It seems almost bizarre how many “groups” have been formed in recent months for the purpose of disarmament. Each one in its heart believes it has “found the way,” and is essentially contemptuous of other evolving groups. Each is based on the same hierarchy as the forces who control nuclear weapons, creating the same bureacracy and ultimately mirroring the structure of the original ncular family, where people gather to support and satisfy the egos of those in command and where individuals are sacrified and crushed. The past is relived. We lose sight of the issue. We are thrown into someone’s visible, largely invisible but deadly power struggles.

    We become starved, stripped of our creativity. This is the third manifestation: dullness, loss of imagination capable of providing a new structure. For a higher vision, whether we label it artistic, imaginative or spiritual, is the only force capable of lifting us. It will only evolve when we are ready to surrender the old structure, strip through the layers of owu own dishonesty. Then we will see that indeed our intellectual, emotional, political and spiritual selves must be an integrated force moving in the same direction. There will no longer be the need to justify our negative emotional behavior because we may be “thinking the right things.” We may discover that rather than herding people into arbitrary groups, the goal is to awaken, inspire and support individuals so that they discover their own power and aliveness. Rather than creating dependency and passivity through the hierarchial structure, we will revitalize individuals to a consciousness of their own potential. Then organization will follow simultaneously, peer linking with peer, through a process of attraction that permits a new kind of leadership, a leadership not founded on passivity, but fired by a rotating equality of energy and commitment.

    I deeply empathize with those I have encountered in the Disarmament Movement. I share the same dreams, the same pain. I feel the same pettiness, power drives and desires to be loved and heard. I can no longer ignore the disparity between issue and person, between what people walk and what they talk. The struggle before us is the struggle for existence. It has merely taken all thse years to drive it to this point of visbility and intensity. All along we were supposed to become human, nurtured by the lived awareness that none of us are ever free, loved or alive until all of us are free, loved and alive. We cannot preach disarmament if we are armed. It is truth of being which attracts and changes rather than words. Pople will argue that there is a time pressure, that the world can be annihilated at any moment. Indeed this is true. But if we continue to act simply in response to this time pressure, we will continue to act as panicked and unconscious people, blindly striking out. Through struggling within ourselves to find what it means to be human, a force will be generated that will begin to overcome the imminant destructive drive of the planet. That drive comes from our core and not our surface. It is the core which must be changed.

  9. Hello Jane,
    I will be reading part of the Vagina Monologues (my first time!) on Feb 14 and participating in the immediately following One Billion Rising dance, sponsored by the Univ of Wisconsin-Baraboo.

    I wanted you to know about a non-profit organization called the Womonscape Center that I recently opened in the small Wisconsin town of Baraboo. It is a place where women can just BE, with couches and chairs, tea and coffee, and an in-house lending library of women-only authored and edited books. The cost for women is free.

    The 2nd, 3rd, and last Friday night is our Womonstrong Film Series. We show movies which include positive role models and strong female characters.
    If you could recommend any films for the series, whether your own or not, I would so appreciate it.
    If you want to read more about the Center, and find out more about what we do, here is the website: http://www.womonscapecenter.org

    Thank you Jane, for your ongoing commitment to women and girls.

    Ricki Grunberg

  10. Jane I am so glad to see this blog post pop up, and of course I would expect that you would be rising. With Eve Ensler, with all of us women who stand for Women living lives they love, of peace, of safety and equality. I am here in Atlanta but will dancing V.Day, Feb.14th in NYC.
    In solidarity and Sisterhood,
    Callahan McDonough

    • Gosh, it is like I have waited 60 years to see this day sisters, especially in Ireland, where punishment is the norm still for mention violence against women.

      Today changes everything and all our hard work pays off.

  11. Still haven’t seen your blog on ‘The Invisable War’ unless it is hidden in somewhere else.

    I saw on Katie Couric this movie presented and the youner female felt that it was taken seriously now by the military because the movie was more about documentation and less about ‘attacking’ them. I wrote to them about what a dangerous and victimy thing to say that all the generations of brilliant women who have confronted this subject , that now because she is being a ‘good girl’ and talking about it in the ‘right way’ so that the rapists and those that allow it for generations can blame the past generations of ‘feminists ‘for the rapes continuing. Not where the responsiblity lay, I heard nothing back from them.
    I also stated that it would surprise me if anything of any effect were done , since they regularly do ‘a little’ but nothing really gets done, then the next uprising , they do the same thing. This has been going on for years.
    Yet we are suppose to salute the rapists as they come home….
    Millions of womens lives ruined.

    I also wanted to add that when I saw Dr. Christine Northrup make a big deal out of participating in the Billion dance , I was put off by the fact that NO FEMALE doctors have EVER stood up against some of the biggest rapists of all, namely other doctors.
    The majority, 85-99.9% of doctors of both sexes are taught how to do vaginal , rectal, and prostrate exams on UNCONSCIOUS females/males after they come out of surgery and are still unconscious. They are not asked, informed or even told afterward this happens. It is documented that they would line up 6-8 med students to ‘exam’ one unconscious women, without her knowledge or consent. This has gone on since the beginning of med schools, and continues to this day in Some of them, although has been stopped just last year in others.
    Further, rape in professions is highest among doctors, from psychiatry on down. the women get treated the same way by mental health and the ones involved.They get trashed, labeled ,blacklisted, and their lives ruined.
    Female doctors are right there with the rest of them, lying for the legal defense, covering for other doctors, and helping keep their own ‘mal practice’ rates from going up, or just to keep from being harassed and blackballed themselves by other doctors. Doctors are never held accountable, or rarely.
    So, I think we have a ways to go, but glad that women everywhere are at least coming together to do something.
    Whenever we have religions involved, sorry but that includes Christianity and some peoples view of it, it ends up being anti female.
    We have Sharia law creeping ever more and more in this country, unbelievably no one is doing anything. Obama even put Kegan in the Supreme Court based on her beliefs that they have the right to their religions and to treat women that way.
    I am older, and it sometimes seems to be going backward.
    I speak up daily, and always glad to hear someone publically speak up as well.
    take care, I know you do.

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