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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

One Billion rising up against violence toward women

This Valentine’s Day, hundreds of thousands of people — men, women, boys and girls — performed a dance to speak out against violence toward women.

Studies show that one in three women around the world will be beaten or raped at least once in her lifetime.

“One Billion Rising is a campaign that a global activist movement called V-Day puts on to focus attention on the problem of violence against women,” said Carolyn Hunt, co-founder and organizer with Bay Area Rising, in an email interview with The Guilfordian.

Eve Ensler, a visionary leader who also authored the “Vagina Monologues,” founded one Billion Rising.

“(Ensler) knew the only thing we could do was to call upon one billion women and men to change this reality and to move the conversation from the margins to the mainstream,” said Lindsey Horvath, Regional Coordinator for the V-Day One Billion Rising Campaign, to The Guilfordian in an email.

Two hundred and seven countries participated in One Billion Rising, making Feb. 14 a special occasion to speak out against violence to women through dance.

“I think of the joy of life and the triumph of victims of violence over their perpetrators by moving bodies and giving thanks for life through the dances,” said Hunt.

One Billion Rising is bringing change around the world through their campaign.

“In Peru, construction workers were declaring their workplaces ‘harassment free,’” Horvath said. “In the Philippines, activists rose for economic and environmental justice, which are core issues in the fight to protect women and girls. In Los Angeles, we talked about the impact of sexual assault on women in the military.”

Many people think violence against women to be a rare occurrence in American culture.

Horvath disagreed.

“The reality is that it’s everywhere,” she said. “The president recently issued an order to address the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. When it’s safer for girls to not get an education, when they are likelier to be raped because they chose to go to college, something is fundamentally wrong with our society.”

That is why Horvath and other activists have joined the campaign: to bring awareness to and to empower survivors of gender-based violence.

“I have not heard of the One Billion Rising Campaign,” said junior Jasmine Wilburn. “But I do know women who have been beaten. I see the pain they have to go through and the way their whole personality has changed because of it.

“I definitely think this is an issue worth standing up against — not just for women — for anyone enduring violence.”

The fight is far from over, but One Billion Rising is looking to expand the scope of its efforts and response to this global problem.

“We would love not to have to rise again next year because violence against women and girls would be over,” said Horvath. “But, until that is our reality, we will rise, grow, reach more communities and take action to create justice in all its forms.”

Visit to catch a glimpse of the V-Day dances that took place throughout the world in February. You can also learn more about the One Billion Rising campaign and V-Day by following them on Twitter: @VDay.

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