1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in hundreds of countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and 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 IN SOLIDARITY AGAINST THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN.
ONE BILLION RISING: SOLIDARITY AGAINST THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN
RISE! DISRUPT! CONNECT!
One Billion Rising first began in 2013 with the fierce struggle against sexual and physical violence – taking on the advocacy against rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex trafficking that V-Day campaigns over 18 years have been at the forefront of. Over the last four years, as One Billion Rising has grown and the local campaigns deepened, it has also brought in economic violence and the violence of poverty, racial violence, gender violence, violence caused by corruption, occupation and aggression, violence caused by environmental disasters, climate change and environmental plunder, violence impacting women in the context of state sponsored wars, militarization, and the worsening internal and international displacement of millions of people, and violence created by capitalist greed, among so many others.
This year, One Billion Rising Revolution is giving sharper focus and visibility to the exploitation of women, and to harnessing even stronger global solidarity to demand an end to violence in all forms.
RISE! Understanding Exploitation
Exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work and the action of making use of and benefiting from resources. For women and girls, they are rendered more vulnerable to abuse of power in all areas – the home, in the workplace, and economically – when they have few or no options for survival.
Exploitation also includes the escalating imperialist corporate profiteering within countries and across borders that abuse women and girls. We are seeing more and more that within the context of economic violence and poverty, additional forms of abuse such as rape, battery, trafficking, enforced labor and migration, and modern day slavery escalate. Women and girls are being used as objects to be extracted for power and for profit, and for social, economic and political control.
In so many regions of the world, women are abused in multiple ways across layers of exploitation and oppression. One layer is the deeply entrenched patriarchal structures in society that continue to subordinate and oppress women, and conditions or forces women into submission and subjugation. This creates fertile ground for domination and control over them. Another layer is the exportation of poor women for labor when economic exploitation is globally enforced by imperialist and capitalist states that place profit over people. The abuse of the planet, and the commodification and dehumanization of women’s bodies in the service of profit, and in the service of other nations profit and development, is the most criminal act of abuse and power. This is especially so when the exploitation is being done to the most marginalized women – indigenous women, workers, migrants, domestic workers, the urban poor and peasant women.
The Rising continues as a demand to end ALL forms of exploitation of women and girls.
“So we must learn the art and practice of disruption. We must release the tentacles of our false securities and interrupt the world as we know it. We must assume that anywhere we live or anything we are doing can change or disintegrate on a dime and we must practice changing and letting it go. Living as if there is no future but the one we are creating. Nothing guaranteed but our willingness to live as pioneers of a new consciousness and way. And we must become disrupters. That is the power of creative resistance. Interrupting business as usual, taking stands that forfeit our acceptance or economic elevation, risking disapproval and controversy, participating in actions that loosen our grip on the suicidal givens and push the tyrants to fall. Disrupters, fighting and dancing with all our might for life over comfort.”
– Eve Ensler (V-Day and OBR Founder and Artistic Director)
When people dance around the world, and when they Rise for revolution using art as a creative resistance – it is a global defiant demand to hold governments, institutions of authority and power, and other perpetrators accountable for their actions. Collective artistic action has the power to incite and mobilize, to arouse, awaken and inspire people to come together in one unified purpose as both a local and global community. It is a creative “people power” force that carries with it hope and will powerful enough to transform our present global structure of patriarchy and capitalist greed into a new world with justice and freedom at its core. In the last fours years of the campaign we have seen DANCE remain and intensify as a wild, bold and radical embodiment of celebration, demand, protest and hope.
And our global dance of connection is both a disruption and a commitment to do everything in our power to keep building this new world – a world of equality, freedom, peace and dignity.
Connect! Why Solidarity?
Because having a unified front gets attention and focus. It gives opportunity to expand understanding and consciousness on violence against women and girls.
Because a coming together of people and groups builds partnerships and alliances among civil society groups, other movements and individuals from all walks of life.
Because a gathering of people joined in their determination for change puts pressure and accountability on state agencies, as well as cultural and international institutions and instruments, on their responsibility to prioritize ending VAW.
Because unity creates hope – and hope creates strength for a shared vision. This vision escalates Art as both a powerful personal and collective form of protest and creative resistance.
Because working together on global themes – allowing broad and deeper connectedness with other campaigns and movements – and facilitating a more pronounced awareness and education on global issues on a local level – gives opportunity to connect the global issues to local issues.
Because being connected encourages inclusivity – and this continues and sustains diversity of participation - from youth groups and students, older and new generation activists and feminists, media, bloggers, artists, academics, teachers, men and boys of all ages.
Because harnessing cohesive purposeful action enables Artistic and Political strategies to combine as a powerful joint tool to escalate the Revolution call.
Because when people come together, power is handed back to the people, not to governments or institutions.
Because there can be no REVOLUTION without SOLIDARITY. We cannot call for system change – change of mindsets; change of structures that keep violence in place; change in consciousness, awareness and understanding of violence; the end of patriarchal values and cultures; change in policies that affect women economically, socially, sexually, physically, emotionally; the end of the revolving patterns of control, oppression and exploitation – ALONE.
SOLIDARITY IS RADICAL CONNECTION.
This revolution demands commitment, courage, trust, belief,
SOLIDARITY AGAINST THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN.
RISE! DISRUPT! CONNECT!
BACKGROUND ON OBR:
One Billion Rising 2016 – an escalated call for Revolution focusing on the most marginalized sectors – was a worldwide action that saw over 200 countries rising up creatively and politically to urgently demand an end to the violence being perpetuated on women and girls, and to demand an end to the global impunity that sustains the culture of violence.
What began four years ago as a worldwide creative dance protest – has now also emerged as a collective defiance using art as a powerful political tool for resistance and protest, as well as a colorful, diverse and highly creative and artistic celebration of local and global solidarity. All over the world, people danced with rage against all forms of violence – not only sexual and gender based violence, but also the violence of poverty, inequality, exploitation and marginalization. And they also danced with hope in their fierce and unwavering insistence on a violence-free world. What began to surface in the last few years of One Billion Rising but what has been much more in focus in the last two years, are not just the effects of patriarchy, but also the global capitalist and imperialist systems that cause and sustain worsening forms of poverty, unprecedented forms of labor, escalating economic and sexual exploitation, human and sex trafficking, state sponsored wars, militarization and internal and international displacement – that render women and girls some of the most vulnerable. Activists around the world have highlighted where these systems support each other in the continuing oppression and exploitation of the most marginalized sectors – that include women, children, indigenous communities, migrants, workers, youth, peasants and LGBTQ – an oppression that cuts across gender, race, class, culture, religion and caste.
Leading up to February 14, 2016 – and through March 8th International Women’s Day and beyond – activists around the world held One Billion Rising events that called everyone to “Rise For Revolution”. They called on all sectors, in all countries, to hold their institutions of authority and justice accountable to ending the culture of impunity and violence – including the media, schools, local and national governments, churches, and international bodies such as the UN. Their call to the oppressive instruments that make possible the systemic sustaining of violence was louder and bigger this year – calling into wider public attention institutional and state violence. Global activists danced with collective determination against both local issues as well as the intersecting international systems that sustain violence. Around the world, the call for Revolution was a resounding demand for justice and for system change.
Why continue with Revolution as the theme a third year? So much of the violence towards women and girls we are seeing today has at its root – deep seated discrimination, exploitation, marginalization and oppression – in all structural forms: economic, political, social, sexual, cultural. The cry from global activists around the world – from the streets to the Houses of Congress, from schools to theatres, from indigenous communities to factories, from social media to films, from urban poor communities to city squares with people from all walks of life – is the demand to change and overhaul an unjust social system that not only allows, but encourages physical, economic, social, mental and emotional violence. And because deeply entrenched mindsets and beliefs sustain the culture of violence and impunity – the need to radically shift the consciousness of people is what the world has been dancing and continues to dance for revolution for.