Open Thread: Happy V-Day

VDAY.img_assist_custom-341x511Let’s all RISE in support of V-Day and against violence, rape, and abuse of women and girls.

Today, the ongoing video series entitled “I Am Rising…” debuts featuring short videos by local activists, artists, actors, and thinkers from around the world. The series coincides with a weeklong print and online video series breaking in London’s The Guardian newspaper featuring an exclusive commentary piece by Eve and video testimony from Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson, Robert Redford, Fatou Bensouda, Ai-jen Poo, Jane Mukuninwa, MP Stella Creasy, Nicola Adams and Ruby Wax, with the aim of inspiring women and men around the world to join ONE BILLION RISING.

V-Day is all about protesting and bringing awareness to the vast number of women world wide–approximately 1 in 3–whose lives have been directly impacted by rape, incest, physical abuse, and violence.

One Billion Rising is a call to action for 1 billion women and men throughout the world to strike and dance today in order to call attention to the horrifying statistic that one in three women, that’s one billion, will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. The campaign has been run all year by Eve Ensler’s now 15-year-old organisation, V-Day, which is most famous for activating people’s feminist imagination through Ensler’s groundbreaking play, The Vagina Monologues.

Ensler’s audacity is less surprising when one considers what V-Day has accomplished. Together with their dedicated local organisers, they have raised more than $85 million, funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programmes and educated millions. The organisation reports that 86 cents to the dollar goes directly into ending violence against women and girls, largely due to their model, which relies most heavily on impassioned local volunteers and keeps the organisation itself small and virtual. In 2012, alone, there were over 5,800 V-Day benefit events.

There are actions and events scheduled all over the world.  You can watch them live from your home or find one in your neighborhood and join in!!

The action began at dawn with indigenous women in Papua New Guinea. It is sweeping through Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe to the Americas. The Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Croatia are rising. Migrant workers, domestic workers, nurses, doctors, even the Dalai Lama. Solidarity pledges have come in from movie stars and Dalit women and the president of the United Steelworkers.

By this time tomorrow, what will OBR have achieved? It’s not like some Mayan Calendar prediction of world transformation overnight. Some organizers have taken advantage of the rising to give momentum to legislation. In the US, in Washington, the One Billion Rising Rising will be calling for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In London, Stella Creasy MP, has introduced a bill to demand more comprehensive sex education—and she’s calling it the One Billion Rising Act.

But OBR’s greatest impact may have to do with borders. Not only has the mobilization brought women from all over the world together into an organizing effort that puts a whole new spin on internationalism, but it has also shone a spotlight on the intersections between so-called “social” and “economic ” issues.

It’s all about social and economic justice for the world’s women and girls!!!