On February 14th, Valentine’s day, when majority of the city was busy with their dates, there were a group of resolute citizens from across Delhi who gathered in Central Park, Rajiv Chowk to celebrate the voice of feminine to put an end to violence towards them. There were ardent feminists, school children, college students and international delegates who made a great attempt to create awareness about the problems women face in the society today.
1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February through March 8th, thousands of Risings take place in hundreds of countries across the world and within local communities – to show the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors of various forms of violence face. People around the world rise through dance to express rage against injustices, and the power of global solidarity and collective action. They dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that together, violence can be defeated. They rise to show a determination to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.
There were skits organised by school kids which dealt directly with basic issues like domestic violence, abuse from in-laws, education of women and slut shaming. The spirits of kids and college students were really high. There were all sorts of schools over there, not just the rich big belly children but also lower middle class kids from slums and government schools. It was a UNICEF funded program and high school students of St. Aiden’s School from England came to teach the under privileged kids from slums of Delhi. Their performance was one of most appreciated one on the dais.
Thousands had gathered together in Central Park the Sunday afternoon. There were speeches and other awareness programs made about the gravity of the issue. Everyone left the park making new friends and with a new enlightenment and a resolution to purge the society of the problems patriarchy has created. It has been a most amazing THREE years of the campaign: One Billion Rising (2013), One Billion Rising for Justice (2014) and One Billion Rising: Revolution (2015). Through our collective efforts we mobilised, engaged, awakened and joined people worldwide to end violence against women. We made violence against women a global human issue not relegated to country or tribe or class or religion. We revealed it as a patriarchal mandate, present in every culture of the world.
In our justice campaign we made visible, volatile and impacting connections between violence against women and economic, environmental, racial, gender injustice. We formed new and hopefully lasting coalitions between existing groups and individuals not only within the women’s movement but also between people’s movements covering diverse sectors. We showed that there is nothing more powerful than global solidarity as it makes all of us safer in our outspokenness, braver in what we feel willing to do. It inspires all of us to go further when we know the eyes of the world are on us. Through One Billion Rising laws were created, passed and enforced. Leaders were born, politicians were held to the fire, major and invisible injustices were highlighted and proven undeniable. Our cries for each of our particular justices rose and merged in a sea of cries and demands, creating a new collage, a new collective vision and radical landscape of what a just world might look like for women and girls. Everyone faced obstacles, attack, doubt, distrust, questions, lack of resources, impossible odds, family needs, and went beyond where even we thought we could go. So we have much to celebrate. What we also did was show the power of art and dance and the astonishing and political alchemy that occurs when art and activism happen simultaneously.
By Anna George
for Campus Drift