one billion rising

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising, Mariella Echeverri

Last year’s event

 

I met Mariella Echeverri this week. She is the co-ordinator responsible for the One Billion Rising event in Palma which has happened for the past two years, and this year’s is going to be even bigger she says. One Billion Rising is a campaign to raise awareness for the continuing worldwide issue of violence against women. It’s an opportunity for women and men to stand together and demand change. Here in Mallorca there will be a demonstration, gathering and public party on Saturday 14th February during the day in Palma de Mallorca. There will be representatives from women’s groups in Majorca, and Mariella hopes to have representatives from many of the official bodies as well.

We meet in a cafe, Mariella and I huddle over steaming hot coffees whilst Palma shivers. What do you want to achieve from this? I ask her. “I want people to come away from the event asking, how can I help locally? Can I help my sister, my cousin, my neighbour? The real problem is that it is very difficult to get to the women who are already at risk, they are so scared and caught up in their situation they don’t know how to get out of it”. I ask Mariella why she organises the event every year, “I do it for my daughter. She is five. I want her to know that there is another way.” We talk about how even young girls are being pressured and influenced through social media and text messages, you don’t even need to be in the same room. “Young men are controlling their girlfriends by making them give them their passwords for Facebook, they are saying ‘if you love me then you will let me know everything about you, let me take that photo of you, it’s just for me, and they’re going to show their friends and bully and harass their girlfriends that way”. And then of course there is the use of physical, and sexual violence against women to control and subjugate them around the globe.

If you want to stand up and show support for women across the world, and demand the end of violence against women then please attend the event. It will happen on Valentine’s Day, Saturday 14th February. They will meet at 11.30am in Plaza Cort and then walk, dance, run, sashay and march to Parc de la Mar. Mariella’s hoping they will be accompanied by motorbikes to “Make some noise” then then once the group arrive at Parc de la Mar (in front of the Cathedral) there will be a huge Zumba event, speeches and chances to get information.

Will you be one of the Billion Rising? I hope I will see you there.

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Dance little sister.

1br-logobg-webLast week I was writing about how much I wanted a revolution. Turns out I’m not the only one. What are you doing on Valentine’s Day?  Fancy a dance around Plaza Espana with a billion people? What, McLeod have you finally lost it? Okay, let me rewind.

You see, I just “Googled” ‘how many people live on the planet?’ as I couldn´t quite get my head around it. Wikipedia says that the United States Census Bureau estimates that there are over seven billion people living on the planet now. Today. That´s a lot of people. So there´s about 3.5 billion females (Adam, Eve, law of averages, I didn´t use Wikipedia for this bit so maybe I am a little out). We accept that? So how about this statistic, (it will shock you), one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime.  So, elementary maths, that means that about a billion women will be in some way physically or sexually abused during their lifetime. That is one billion mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends. Yet, most of the world remains silent and indifferent. The time has come to put a stop to the violence, and to the silence that surrounds it. It is appalling, and I WON’T accept it. I´m thinking about Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head for having the audacity to think that girls have the right to education in Pakistan, and I am thinking about the young Indian woman who was gang raped on a bus. And that´s just two high profile stories in the past month. Imagine a billion of these stories.

On February 14th, 2013, one billion women and those who love them are invited to walk out, rise up, dance, and strike to demand an end to violence against women and girls. Already, thousands of activists and organisations around the globe have signed on and events are being planned in countries all over the planet.  Women’s, human rights, labour, economic justice, environmental, faith-based, and LGBTQ groups, as well as artists and high profile lawmakers are coming together. Rosario Dawson, Thandie Newton, Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington along with Yoko Ono, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, Donna Karan, Jennifer Lawrence, Dylan McDermott, Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, Rosie Huntington – Whitely, Zoe Kravitz will be rising and dancing, plus many more. http://www.onebillionrising.org  is part of V-Day (www.vday.org) which is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.

So the idea is: if you don´t accept this, and you think you would like in some way to show that you refuse to accept violence against women and girls as a given then you can stand up and be counted. You don´t have to turn up at a demo in the middle of Palma, you don´t (although, it will be great, you have to be at the Plaza Espana in Palma at 3.30pm on Valentine´s Day, wear some pink and bring flowers, and prepare to dance with what could be quite a lot of other people, imagine how exciting that would be!). Instead, if you prefer, you can do your own thing, if you visit http://www.onebillionrising.org and get some ideas about how you can participate. It can be by writing about it, getting your local school to participate, by tweeting about or changing your Facebook profile photo to the logo of the One Billion Rising. There are a lot of ways to show your support. Please join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.  See you on the dance floor.

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Family Matters Mallorca by Vicki McLeod©2013