Eve Ensler reminds us of the power of one individual to make
positive change in the world and to inspire millions of women and men,
worldwide, to join her in action to end domestic violence against women, rape,
sex trafficking and slavery, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment in
and outside the military and to create options for women’s empowerment by
creating centers for education, safe houses, working towards better, more fair
and equitable wages and encouraging an evolution in the way women are treated
in many cultures where women have been traditionally marginalized and treated
like second class, voiceless individuals.
Ensler, a Tony Award winning playwright, who wrote TheVagina Monologues, started her
campaign, V-Day, fifteen years ago and annual worldwide participation in awareness
events on V-Day, February 14th have increased greatly since then.
There are active and successful women–empowering projects in
all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, India, Congo, the Philippines, Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan,
Peru, the United States and many other countries.Some concrete changes have been gender
training for 100,000 rickshaw drivers in India and in Peru, all construction
sites have been declared sexual harassment free zones.
Three years ago, Ensler founded One Billion Rising to be
the largest global action to end violence against women and girls. This year’s
theme is Revolution to bring about a new escalation that calls for a radical
shift to end the global epidemic of abuse that women face worldwide. The
tagline is Drum, Dance and Rise. Ensler says“one in three women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her
lifetime. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the
fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are
determined to create a new kind of consciousness-one where violence will be
resisted until it is unthinkable. This year we are rising for Revolution”.
Since 2013, activists in more that 200 countries have staged
RISING events, gaining media attention, changing laws and demanding justice.
Thousands of events will take place globally during the week of February 14th.
On February 7th, the kick off benefit for "One Billion Rising: Revolution", took place in NYC at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Featured were a full
evening of musicians, dancers, actors, powerful poets and international cultural activists, with beautiful stage artwork by Brooklyn-based artist, Swoon.
Among those included comedienne/activist, Rosie O’ Donnell; actress, Kathy Najimy; theatrical dance and
extreme action company, STREB; 40 member women’s drumming group, Batala NYC; Afghani
activist, Zoya and Sara Jayuraman, who represents restaurant servers for a
living wage in struggle with the National Restaurant Association. Waitresses
who work for tips are often sexually harassed and vulnerable, dependent on
customers for their livelihood.
It was exciting, positive and a surprise to see that on the very next
night, February 8th, a segment of time was set aside on the Grammy
Awards for a video by President Barack Obama on ending domestic violence
towards women. He gave this webpage where people can take the pledge to end
violence against women, www.itsonus.org. A
woman speaker who had been a victim of domestic violence followed the video,
speaking live, and following her was a performance of a poignant song by Katy
Please see videos below which include interviews with some of the speakers who appeared at the benefit and President Obama's video from the 2015 Grammy Awards on February 8th.