Last week on Valentines Day (2/14/2013), I was in the Diag hanging out with some friends from work passing out flowers and free T-shirts with Body Peace Corps, a group on campus that promotes positive body image and works to prevent eating disorders on campus. There was a lot going on in the Diag on Valentines Day, but one of the coolest things happened at around noon. All of a sudden this group of people, a mix of men and women, started doing a Flashmob right in front of the Grad library. Now, I know you’re all probably thinking that Flashmobs are a thing of the past but this one captured me. It got me dancing and moving around and wanting to join in on whatever they were celebrating. The music that was playing and the energy of this group of people was contagious. I wasn’t the only bystander joining in on the festivities, but it also got me wondering who the heck this group of people was and what was it that they were so passionately dancing about?
My questions were soon answered as the flashmob came to an end and a lady got up to introduce herself as the coordinator of One Billion Rising Ann Arbor. She explained that the reason they were there was because One Billion Rising symbolizes the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her life time. With the world population at 7 billion this adds up to more than 1 billion women and girls. She went on to say that that day (February 14, 2013) was V-Day’s 15th anniversary and activist all over the world in almost 200 countries would be expressing their outrage and would be demanding change. They would come together and dance and rise in defiance to the injustices that women suffer and would demand an end to domestic violence and to any form of violence against women and rape.
Of course this left me curious and wanting to know more about this event and what V-Day was. So as soon as I got home I did some Googling. What I found is something pretty amazing. V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. One of the more popular V-Day campaigns that most of us have probably heard of is The Vagina Monologues. What I witnessed in the Diag was one of V-Days most recent campaigns, One Billion Rising. One Billion Rising was launched in February 2012 to call out to V-Day organizers and activists to join them on February 14, 2013 to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women and girls.
With all the recent publicity about gun violence and of all the other horrific stories on the news surrounding violence in general I thought it would be a nice change of pace to discuss this awesome movement. Violence against women and girls is a devastating situation that is seen all around the world, but the V-Day movement is growing at rapid pace throughout the world as well. To see so many different people and cultures come together for the same cause is really powerful. It is efforts like this that can help advocate for policy such as the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that was discussed in last Tuesday’s blog post, “VAWA for Valentine’s Day”. To learn more about V-Day and how you can get involved check out their website.