As the year 2018 begins – and we are six weeks away from the major Rising events which begin on February 14th through to March 8th– exciting news is pouring in from OBR and V-Day activists all across the globe about their Risings.
OBR events are being prepared across Europe – the United Kingdom has 133 Rising events signed up; Germany has over 80 cities rising, Poland has over 30 rising events, and Italy has over 60.
Hundreds of Rising events will be taking place in countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia. India has over 100 events and major risings in 22 states, and there will be over 130 Rising events taking place in the Philippines over the next two months.
In Africa, major Risings are taking place in over 25 countries – led by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo, Namibia, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Gabon, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and Nigeria.
Countries across the world launched their One Billion Rising 2018 campaigns during the annual Sixteen Days of Activism – which began on November 25th – and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
In December alone, India held several launches:
OBR Gwalior held an event on December 22: “Give Justice To Babita”
An OBR march in protest of the rape and molestation of women and daughters was held outside the Hajira Police station. The launch took place last December 16th – the anniversary of the rape and murder of Jyoti.
OBR Udaipur organized by Jatan Sansthan, held their annual retreat in Pushkar, Rajasthan last December 26th. Kamla Bhasin (OBR Regional Director for South Asia) spent the day talking about and discussing gender, patriarchy, masculinity, violence against women and girls, feminism and One Billion Rising. Jatan is part of Ek Sath Campaign which works with boys and men challenging patriarchy. Jatan has a team of 280 full time and 300 part time members working in 12 districts in and around Udaipur. They work with children, adolescents, youth and women on topics like education, health, and menstruation.
OBR Delhi, Sangat Feminist Network and Ek Sath paid tribute to Santusi Savitri Bai Phule and Fatima Sheikh to celebrate Indian Women’s Day last January 2 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Music for Love and Harmony by Shabnam Virmani, Sonam Kaira and Parvathy Baul. The theme of the evening was to “Celebrate Love and to challenge hatred and violence with the Power of Love.”
OBR Uttam Nagar with Azad Foundation held a Rising event last December 20th to end violence against women in J.J. Colony Hastsal in Uttam Nagar. The event was organized by Women On Wheels trainees from West Delhi, feminist leaders from the Parvaz program, young men volunteering for the Men for Gender Justice program, and the Azad staff. The Rising was a march on the streets, which called for all to speak up against violence towards women. The Rising was a march on the streets to speak up against violence towards women and to rise for non-traditional livelihoods for women.
The rally was followed by a “Ajeevika,” a street play by Asmita Theatre group which talks about the importance of NTL and property rights for women.
OBR Bihar launched on December 17 in protest against gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh in Delhi, which took place five years ago. Many organizations and activists joined hands to organize the OBR Bihar launch.
OBR Simdega launched on December 16th with an OBR program and several preparatory meetings with young, energetic women. The focus was on different issues affecting young women in India today, and how to strategically address them.
OBR Kolkata will be launching on January 5th and 6th at a feminist book fair where Kamla Bhasin will speak about OBR and VAW with iconic feminist poets, writers and academics.
For OBR Rajasthan, Kamla was invited by PUCL Rajasthan to interact with about 30 students, mainly from Law Universities in different parts of India. These students are spending a month learning about human rights issues in real life – led and taught by amazing human rights defenders. The students already knew about OBR and they are planning to organize events in their areas.
OBR all across India spearheaded the “Meet To Sleep” campaign – where women and girls gathered all across the country, sleeping in public gardens to reclaim public spaces and get rid of all the fears about public safety. Taking place in over 18 cities, with allies, citizens, and organizations including Sangat, Jagori Sahas, Azad Foundation, North East Network, Srijan Red Brigade, Breakthrough and more.
Many other Risings have been taking place across India. Jagori Rural (OBR India Secretariat) took forward the One Billion Rising campaign 2018 on the 15th and 16th of December with various events.
On December 15th at the Government College, Baba Bator, 200 students gathered to listen to Kjhadijah Farroqui who shared on the Constitution and Gender Violence with relevant topics of love, duty, responsibility and crime in the context of a teenager’s life.
On December 16th, at the government college Matour, hundreds of students gathered to listen to Navneet who shared on gender, masculinity and gender-based violence, as they pledged to raise their voices whenever they face or witness violence against women.
Later, on the night of December 16th, a crowd of OBR risers walked singing, with slogans, footsteps and claps from Dhramman to Shahpur. Their “Take Back the Night” is a powerful OBR event that questions the nature of the Night and Violence against women.
And in other parts of the world, OBR preparations and launches in February and March are in full swing.
OBR New Mexico has teamed up with a local college to produce “The Vagina Monologues” and have been hosting weekly conversations around town to focus on OBR. Many local schools are getting involved, as well as men’s groups who is working with Ted Bunch and Tony Porter on A Call To Men Campaign. Their main rising will be on February 10th, 2018, followed by an OBR press conference at the state capital on February 14th.
Risings across the US are utilizing art and activism to advocate for the rights of all women and girls. Haven, New Hampshire is working to end domestic and sexual violence through a production of SHELTER, which tells the stories of women seeking refuge through contemporary dance. OBR Atlanta will be holding a fashion show focussed on the theme of ending rape culture, while cities all over are calling for activists and artists of all identities to join and make signs, dance together, and stand in solidarity.
OBR Zimbabwe 2018 launched on December 8th. OBR Zimbabwe is prioritizing inter-generational solidarity between movements for girls and women to preserve the gains and achievements of the women’s movements, which are under threat from acts of tyranny, militarism and bad governance, which jeopardize the security of girls and women.
Last December 19th, OBR Kenya held an event in Maisha (meaning Life) Safe House, where people gathered with Her Voice Kenya to light candles in solidarity with the beautiful and energetic girls of the house. The event was held for the loved ones lost this year, for the courage, the achievements, the disappointments, and above all, for the solidarity.
The group “Bangkok Rising”- which was born out of OBR – is holding a whole month of Rising events from February 14th to March 8th, 2018 – with a series of theatre productions, poetry nights, flash mobs, and workshops. They will be having an Artistic Uprising OBR event on Saturday March 3rd, 2018. Their OBR theme this year is “Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women”.
OBR Australia has convened and is Rising as a united front on February 14th, with major OBR events taking place in major states across the country. In Sydney, OBR will be held at the Opera House forecourt steps.
OBR Barcelona will be holding the event: “Women’s March Barcelona’s One Billion Rising 2018” on February 14th.
Women’s March Barcelona fights for full rights of all people and a healthy planet, through communication, outreach, inclusion and debate – and in the end, action.
OBR Parma, led by the The Anti-Violence Association of Parma is organizing their main event on February 14th – with a focus on domestic violence and the importance of solidarity in encouraging victims to get back to normal living, where they can be free to work, look safely after their children and enjoy life.
OBR Norwich has partnered with Norwich Dandies (a local established arts org) and will be running a two week OBR Women’s art exhibition, art workshops, music events, as well as flash mobs, speeches, and performances.
OBR Dominican Republic, led by Fundacaion Aldeas de Paz is organizing their main event in Samana, Malecon on February 14th, 2018. Their work focuses on education, human rights and environmental protection.