V-Day: One Billion Rising

In less than three weeks, Valentine’s Day will be here. Now that beautiful day celebrating love has a new meaning. Not only is it the day of love for couples, it is also a day to end violence against women. Not by parading or picketing, but by dancing.

One Billion Rising on V-Day is the movement. It’s named for the one billion women who are raped or beaten in their lifetimes. According to the slogan: One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution.

Other than with a few close friends, I have never shared that I was raped when I was 22. I was living in Japan and seeing a guy there. I invited him over to my house for dinner and he took that as an invitation for more than just dinner.

It affected me in my relationships with men for at least five years. When I met the man I was to marry, I had to tell him that it was still affecting me sometimes. It wasn’t a constant pain or ache, but sometimes I didn’t want a man to touch me.

Now there’s a chance for women to fight back, not by fighting but by dancing. Flash mobs will be appearing around the world to show women’s power, not their helplessness in the face of this epidemic.

Legendary dancer Debbie Allen has choreographed a simple dance sequence to the One Billion Rising anthem “Break the Chain” written by acclaimed songwriter Tena Clark.

The One Billion Rising website features how to organize a flash mob with videos to help people learn the dance moves and a tool-kit for how to organize and publicize your own flash mob.

Even if you don’t organize a flash mob, you can still plan on where and with whom you’ll dance on that day. You can also find the closest dance event already planned in your area using the search function on the One Billion Rising website. The site has other ideas for what you can do as well. Inviting leaders against violence to speak and writing your congressional representatives about sponsoring legislation against violence are two of them. There’s also a monologue called “Rising” that can be read at a V-day occasion.

V-Day is on a Thursday in about three weeks. That doesn’t leave much time for organization but it’s still not too late to do something even if it is just stop what you’re doing at work, school or whatever to say a word about ending violence against women. And if you like to dance, then here’s your chance to do it for a reason.

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