On Billion Rising

ONE BILLION RISING by guest blogger Eve Ensler

One Billion RisingOn February 14, 2013, ONE BILLION RISING saw women and men from all over the world dance and rise in protest to highlight violence against women. Issues focused on gender-based violence. This year, ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE escalated the demand to end violence against women and girls by focusing on ending impunity and connecting social justice issues with violence against women. One Billion Rising was founded by Eve Ensler, who also founded the V-Day movement - a movement to end violence against women and girls - now on its' 16th year.

Apart from sustaining the call to Rise against Violence and elevating the call for justice for women and girls - the justice calls escalated to include state and structural violence that render women and their families poor and oppressed - bringing in the intersectional issues of labor and trafficking, forced migration, domestic work, economic violence and exploitation, indigenous women's rights, plunder of the land and environment, women in prisons, racial violence, among many other intersectional issues that cause and perpetuate violence against women.

The Risings went deeper into the justice issues and each community came together to address impunity as they gathered and danced together to show collective strength and energy. Broadening its scope from 2013 and widening its' reach - the One Billion Rising For Justice campaign utilised creativity, artistry, energy, courage and determination with political strategy.

One Billion Rising for Justice saw the world dancing in protest in front of various government agencies and business headquarters that represent the oppression and injustice borne by women. Women and men around the world danced to demand better working conditions for women, liveable wage, decent homes and livelihood - dancing in front of mining companies and businesses to decry plunder of resources and environmental destruction. In many countries, communities gathered outside Presidential palaces, departments of justice, and government agencies to demand education for women, legislative rights for women and girls, and to demand true social justice which included highlighting various neo-liberal policies that affect the world, including militarisation and human trafficking. The campaign highlighted a multitude of justice issues among peasants, workers, migrants, youth, urban poor, women prisoners, women political prisoners, teachers and migrants - bringing together mass movements such as human rights, the environment, and labor with the women's movements all over the world.

The campaign, in many countries around the world utilised the broad multi-sectoral aspects of each community and city, and brought in artists, youth, men - using art, activism, political action, local community and grassroots voices, and solidarity - to highlight the broad, diverse and urgent justice calls in each country to end the impunity that keeps violence and oppression in place.

This year, ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE 2014:

1. Further brought in groups, sectors and movements such as human rights, environment and labor - not normally working directly within violence against women advocacy.

2. Were continued to be led by grassroots groups.

3. Saw the youth movement and men also leading the Risings in many regions.

4. Highlighted existing laws or lack of legislation that deny women justice.

5. Put into sharp focus accountability of state agencies that perpetuate injustice towards women and girls.

6. Brought related intersectional issues to VAW - economic violence, environment and land issues, state instigated violence, labor export policies, migration, political persecution, human rights, etc. into the campaign.

7. Motivated legislators to pledge ending VAW as a priority issue - through legislation and swift application of laws. The campaign also saw the involvement of local governments in many regions and communities.

9. Escalated political actions and demands.

10. Brought together even more coalitions and broad alliances who worked together on the campaign.

11. Fueled the determination of people to Rise - we saw many countries rise through adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow and volcanic eruptions like Indonesia.

12. Birthed and created huge, varied, colourful and diverse artistic and creative initiatives.

13. Continued to deepen political education on causes and roots of violence against women through art and activism.

14. Broke through traditional advocacy platforms, using dance and other artistic initiatives - and was a powerful tool to get media and public attention for violence against women issues.

NEXT YEAR, ONE BILLION RISING 2015:

-Will ensure that the justice demands continue - to build on what was already started - and for each community to continue to determine their own initiatives to deepen their justice calls to action.

-Will lead more and more towards becoming a truly de-centralised movement which is already organically happening in countries all around the world - owned, determined and led by the grassroots communities.

-Will continue to fight against all forms of violence against women and patriarchy - and will also be used as a catalyst, not just to demand justice - but also as a radical platform to help shift consciousness in a huge way - and to deepen understanding and education of the concepts of equality, peace, democracy, freedom, dignity and humanity.

-Will continue to of look at the desecration and plunder of the earth as fundamentally tied to violence against women.

-Will continue to envision and create audacious and radically imaginative ways to use art and activism to escalate the risings, as well as use the global solidarity networks built on and by One Billion Rising to sustain focus on justice demands.

- Will continue to deepen looking at intersections that connect us as regions to inform and direct the envisioning of the global campaign.

ONE BILLION RISING 2015

Will be an urgent demand - that before environmental, economic, cultural and social catastrophes brought on by the onslaught of capitalism continue to engulf the lives of women across the planet - we must all act now, and act collectively. And that we must use all our energy, all our creativity, all our political will, all our solidarity - to REVOLUTIONISE the world into taking action for women.