One Billion Rising for Justice
One Billion Rising campaign secures Trafalgar Square for its second annual event
This Valentine’s Day, London will be at the centre of a major global campaign to end violence against women. A host of British and international celebrities – including actress Thandie Newton – are joining forces with the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Minister for Business Stella Creasy MP and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC in Trafalgar Square to demand justice for the one billion women across the world who will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.
The first One Billion Rising event was held last year, on the 15th anniversary of the V-Day movement, a campaign launched in 1998 by the activist and writer of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler. This year, the campaign has gained the support of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and a mass gathering of women and men of all ages, race, religions and walks of life will take place in Trafalgar Square. Top British performers will provide the musical backdrop for the event, led by the performing artist Skin, some live drumming and the entire crowd dancing the signature One Billion Rising dance, Break the Chain. Activists in over 160 countries will gather in their communities to rise, release and dance with events held at places worldwide that are symbolic of justice. The events will share the global call for justice and an end to violence against women and girls.
The campaign deepens and expands this year with the theme of justice. There is much work to be done at home and abroad to tackle violence against women. This year’s event comes at a time when the subject is seldom far from the UK’s news headlines. Sex gangs, exploitation, female genital mutilation and online trolling have dominated the news agenda over the last year and incidents of domestic violence have risen by 7% in the last year. According to statistics released in January 2013, approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year, and an additional 400,000 women are sexually assaulted.
Those gathered at the Trafalgar Square event will demand an end to such abuse and call for the modernisation of compulsory sex and relationship education in British schools. Specific calls to action for 2014 include:
- Making Sex and Relationship Education compulsory in UK schools via amendments to the Children and Families Bill.
- The repeal of visa laws that tie domestic workers to their employers and put them at serious risk of exploitation and abuse.
- Sweeping improvements in immigration detention centres to ensure that vulnerable women feel safe; their dignity is respected; and they are not subject to violence.
The format for the Trafalgar Square One Billion Rising event on 14th February will be:
12.00-12.30pm: Press conference with politicians and celebrities
12.30-1.00pm: Speeches and performances
1.00-1.30pm: Music and dancing
V-Day Founder and award winning playwright, Eve Ensler said: “In 2013, one billion rose around the world to end violence against women and girls in the biggest mass action in the history of the world. This year we are escalating and connecting the dots. We are rising for gender, economic, racial, environmental Justice. We are rising and dancing with our bodies, to end the violations towards our bodies and the body of the earth.”
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “On 14th February, I will be proud to be amongst the one billion people rising up to say we no longer accept violence against women and girls. In the UK, two women a week are killed by a partner or an ex and one in five 999 calls are for domestic abuse. There’s growing violence in teenage relationships and too many women still face harassment and threats on the street or online. This must not continue. One Billion Rising is an opportunity for us all to stand up and demand action to keep women and girls safe.”
Lynne Franks, lead organiser of the London event added, “It is a crucial time for London to be taking a leadership role in this major international campaign. As a global hub, we have the opportunity to amplify the key messages of One Billion Rising from our event at Trafalgar Square to the rest of the world.”
Read more at www.onebillionrising.org