TOMORROW WILL SEE women from more than 180 countries taking part in One Billion Rising, a global demonstration calling for an end to violence against women.
One Billion Rising was initiated by Eve Ensler, the creator of the Vagina Monologues, and calls for women to “join together to dance, meet and rise up against violence and inequality”.
One Billion Rising events will take place in Dublin, Donegal, Cork, Galway, Ennis, Cloughjordan, Listowel, Bantry, Letterkenny, Castlebar and more.
One in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime globally, according to the United Nations. SAFE Ireland, the national network of domestic violence services, said that nearly 8,000 women (and over 3,000 children) received support from domestic violence services in Ireland in 2011.
The Dublin event will comprise a number of flashmobs, with the first kicking off at 1.30pm at the spire, and culminating in the big event at 6pm at the top of Grafton St. While choreographed dancers will hold the flashmobs, everyone is invited to dance at the 6pm event.
At the Grafton Street event, there will also be a guest speaker, Ann Wright, a former United States Army Colonel and retired US State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War and being a strong advocate of women’s rights.
Hannah Kelleher is one of the organisers of the Dublin event, and found out about One Billion Rising while reading an interview with Eve Ensler. When she read the statistic that one in three women globally will be raped, she “felt it was an atrocious statistic to exist currently” and that as a society “we should take responsibility and try to change something”.
After signing up on OneBillionRising.org, she was contacted by Marese Hegarty and Tracy Ryan and the planning began. Also involved was Yasia Leiserach, who held an event on Sunday in Dublin’s Living Room meditation space.
“It’s a very alternative way for women to feel empowered and also in solidarity,” said Kelleher of the event, adding that it is also open for men to be part of.
It’s not to see it as an attack on all men, but something that needs to grow in unity with men and women.
The event has been completely organised on a volunteer basis with no funds behind it. Kelleher will perform a monologue that Ensler wrote, called The Rising. Participants will also take a pledge that “it won’t be a one-day active campaign” and that they will continue to be creative around raising awareness of the issue.
Although Kelleher describes the organising experience as “very nerve wracking”, she said:
The way I look at it now is it is not about my own nerves and own fear – we need to look past our own personal issues and move forward.
The idea of using dance to spread the message is a positive one, said Kelleher. “It’s quite distinctive – it catches people’s attention, women coming together in solidarity, using dance and music to be creative.”
So far, 80 people have signed up on OneBillionRising.org, while the Facebook event has 400 people signed up.
The Dublin event is one of a number of One Billion Rising events taking place tomorrow around the country:
- Donegal: Get Donegal Dancing, 1.30pm, main street, Letterkenny
- Sligo: Sligo Rising, 6pm, Forthill, Sligo
- Mayo: Mayo Rising, 10.30pm, Lannagh Road, Castlebar
- Tipperary: Cloughjordan Rising, 8pm, Parochial Hall, Step Road, Cloughjordan
- Galway: Galway is Rising, 1pm, Eyre Square
- West Cork: West Cork Strike, Dance, Rise, 1.30pm, Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry
- Maynooth: Start a Rising, 2pm, NUI Maynooth
- Ennis: 5pm, Ennis Courthouse, Zumba parade down to the Queens
- Kerry: Into the Light, 8pm, the Square, Listowel, Co Kerry
- Tralee: 7 – 8pm, contact details of organisers here
- Cork: 6.30pm, St Aloysius, Sharman Crawford St, Cork
- Cork: 5pm, Ballydehob social club, Co Cork