By Philomena Ogalo, a Spring 2013 intern at The Leadership Conference Education Fund
One Billion Rising (OBR) is more than just a campaign. It is a movement geared towards empowering women and men to bring awareness to the everyday violence committed against women.
Founded in early 2012 by Eve Ensler, winner of a Tony award for writing The Vagina Monologues, OBR is a grassroots campaign that advocates on behalf of women and girls globally. On the OBR website it encourages people to join this effort because “ending violence against women is as important as ending poverty, or AIDs or global warming.”
OBR’s website also says that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. It says that while one billion women violated is certainly an atrocity, one billion women dancing could spark a revolution. This is why Ensler is asking that all women and men join her on February 14, 2013 to bring awareness to this issue and mark the 15th Anniversary of V-Day. The goal of the V-Day organization is to produce benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues in order to raise money for communities of women around the world. V-Day 2012 had more than 5,800 events, which funded 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. Ensler’s goal is to end violence against women and girls, which is why she chose to create a global one-day event, One Billion Rising.
Many of The Leadership Conference’s coalition members have joined this movement. The Human Rights Campaign, Amnesty International USA, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The National Organization for Women (NOW), The National Partnership for Women and Families, and the United Steelworkers of America (USW) are all a part of this effort and you can be too.
With the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) now waiting for action in the U.S. House of Representatives, following passage in the U.S. Senate, and the still pending ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), it is important to make every effort to advocate for the silenced voices of battered and abused people. If you want to join this event on February 14, 2013 or for more information, go to the One Billion Rising Website.