“On February 14th, 2013 I attended a local One Billion Rising event in the Hudson Valley, where I’ve lived for 25 years. That day I was confronted by 14 life-sized cardboard female figures, each with a name of a woman, the town where she had lived and the date on which she was murdered by her intimate partner. Fourteen women murdered in ten years, where was the public outcry? Where was the grieving? One of the victims had been a neighbor of mine but I had not been aware of her death. I had passed her house for months while driving my daughter to school. My blood chilled. How could I be a member of this community in good standing and not respond to this outrage. As the day progressed, I met directors of local shelters, prosecutors, police officers and survivors. I began to envision a follow-up event in which all these phenomenal advocates could be recognized for their work. I wanted to help them present to a larger audience this little understood and rarely discussed public health crisis in our region, in our world that is Domestic Violence. The benefit concert that resulted was by far the most emotional of my 30-year career; thankfully it was captured on film. I am so grateful to Eve Ensler and One Billion Rising for opening my eyes and inspiring me to use my voice to protest violence against women and children.” -Natalie Merchant
In this short film directed by musician-activist Natalie Merchant, a group of women living in the Mid-Hudson region of New York State respond to the crisis of domestic violence in their community with compassion and creativity. Musicians, advocates, criminal prosecutors, victims and survivors all take to the stage, illuminating the darkness surrounding this public health epidemic. Filmed on June 2, 2013 at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College. All proceeds generated by this concert were donated to domestic violence shelters: Grace Smith House Poughkeepsie, NY and The Washbourne House, Kingston, NY.