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Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 #1 -- One Billion Rising

Ten days out from my travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a return visit to the City of Joy.  Two weeks and a couple days until One Billion Rising. 

I don’t normally send my first post out this early, but lately I find myself talking more and more about One Billion Rising, and since I will be in Bukavu, DRC on the 14th of February, the day that One Billion people around the planet will Rise, I want to make sure you all can take part in the Risings where you are.     

So what is One Billion Rising (OBR)?  It’s how Eve Ensler does things.  It’s how we change the world.  It’s never been needed more than at this very moment.  It’s about standing up with everyone you love and care about, especially the women, the sisters, the mothers, the aunts, the grandmothers, the daughters, the friends and every man, brother, son, father, nephew, friend that loves us, and saying that we are OVER the violence against women. We are DONE with it.  We have had ENOUGH.  It has to STOP.  One Billion Rising on February 14, 2013 is a TRUE MOMENT on this planet and we cannot miss it.   The chance to connect and mobilize a billion women and girls, men and boys towards creating a very different kind of world at a time when this one teeters in many ways - socially and environmentally.  

Last night, someone sent me the trailer for the documentary The Invisible War, a film about rape in the military.   The screen flashed with the statistic that over 500,000 women in the US military have been sexually assaulted.  

In Steubenville, Ohio a 14 year girl is raped by members of the high school football team.  Students stand aside, take photos, and post them on Facebook and Twitter, and no one steps in to stop it.

In New Delhi, India a female college student and her boyfriend board a bus home.  She is so violently gang raped and beaten with a metal pipe that it destroys all of her organs.  Then she and her boyfriend are thrown from the bus and lie naked and bleeding on the road while people pass by and do nothing.  And India rises like never before and the mothers begin to say “That could have been my daughter.”  And then someone says that we also need to step forward and say, “That could have been my son.”

Today, on the planet, a billion women – one of every three women on the planet – will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends violated. V-Day REFUSES to stand by as more than a billion women experience violence.
On February 14th, 2013, V-Day's 15th Anniversary, we are inviting one billion women and those who love them to walk out, DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND an end to this violence. One Billion Rising is a promise that we will rise up with women and men worldwide to say, "Enough! The violence ends now."
As crazy as I thought Eve was when she kicked off One Billion Rising - because let’s face it, that’s a lot of people - I know every morning when I look in my inbox and see the countries, cities, mayors, congressional leaders, parliamentarians, TV networks, religious leaders that have signed on to Rise - the list goes on, today Risings are planned in over 186 countries - that she will get there.  I encourage you to go to www.vday.org and find a Rising near you.  And if you are so inclined, start a Rising at your school, your church, your neighborhood, your company, your gym, your city center.  Here in the Bay Area nearly every college and university, most high schools, many churches, and city centers are all hosting Rising events.  And if you like to DANCE well then click on the link to Break the Chains (http://onebillionrising.org/blog/we-have-an-anthem) and learn the dance that is choreographed by Debbie AllenRead the blogs of why people are Rising.  Check out the tumbler https://www.rebelmouse.com/VDay/ and share it with your friends and family.  I encourage you to RISE.

I will be with Eve in the Congo on the 14th at the City of JoyThe City of Joy is a center that was built to help women that have been among the most brutalized on the planet.  A center built in the poorest section of Bukavu on a plot of mud that no one wanted.  A place that we now say is the BEST place in the world to be a woman in a country that has been labeled the worst place in the world to be a woman.  The City of Joy is the lotus that rises out of the mud.  A place that signifies love and transformation and all that is good about humanity.
I have two things to share with you in this first posting.  One is a poem that Eve wrote this past fall, Over It, about demanding an end to the violence against women.  The second is a video called The Man Prayer (http://www.vday.org/node/3036).  I think it’s the most beautiful Valentine I have ever sent.  The video fills my eyes with tears from the start to the finish because it’s a video of men, all speaking in their native tongues from all over the world, reading the verses of a prayer Eve wrote last year after meeting His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa at TED India and being inspired by his commitment to this movement to end the violence.  When I read the words it is what I want for every man on the earth and if we could get there I know the violence against women and girls would stop....  And then I think of the teenagers in Steubenville and the students in India, and the girls at the City of Joy, and I know I have to share this message with everyone I know and hope it will ripple out like a pebble tossed into the pond because that could have been my daughter and it could have been my son.
Over It
by Eve Ensler

I am over rape.
I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.
I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.
I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.
I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don't have a sense of humor, and women don't have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don't think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.
I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape.
I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.
I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.
I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.
I am over rape happening in broad daylight.
I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.
I am over one in three women in the U.S military (Happy Veterans Day!) getting raped by their so-called "comrades."
I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.
I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.
I am over starving Somali women being raped at the Dadaab in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.
I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it's their fault or they did something to make it happen.
I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime - the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself.
No women, no future, duh.
I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it.
I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters - film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie stars, athletes - while the lives of the women they violated are permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.
I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you?
You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren't you standing with us? Why aren't you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?
I am over years and years of being over rape.
And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5 years old.
And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape.
And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.
I am over being polite about rape. It's been too long now, we have been too understanding.
We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine - once and for all - what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need you to let our rage and our compassion connect us together so we can change the paradigm of global rape.
There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated.
ONE BILLION WOMEN.
The time is now. Prepare for the escalation.
Today it begins, moving toward 14 February 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.
Because we are over it.

I hope you will join a RISING on February 14.  It’s time.

Amy

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