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Today, one billion people around the world will rise and take a stand against sexual violence on the direction of feminist activist and playwright, Eve Ensler. This will honour the 15th anniversary of the V-Day movement and The Vagina Monologues.
A bunch of people dancing isn’t likely to erase sexual violence overnight. But one of the main reasons gender-based violence persists is because no one talks about it. Discussing the horrible realities that exist in a world built upon rape culture isn’t fun. It can be difficult and upsetting and scary and emotionally exhausting, but it’s necessary. If I could have one wish for the feminist movement, it’d be that more open, honest and inclusive conversations about gender-based violence were taking place on a large scale.
As with a lot of Eve’s work, it’s easy to pass this effort off as elementary. But those judgements are coming from inside the feminist bubble. Actions like this aren’t designed to preach to the choir, they’re aimed at targeting people who don’t think about gender politics and sexual violence on a daily basis. The point is to get the attention of people who wouldn’t ordinarily go out of their way to educate themselves or participate in these dialogues, and let them know that this is happening, it’s a problem, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to work for change.
Flash mobs are an effective marketing device. They’re a cheap and easy way to get a lot of attention, simple as that.
If one billion people rise, that’s one-sixth of the planet. Everyone would know at least one person who participated, bringing home the fact that, if there are one billion women on this planet who have been raped or beaten, we all know at least one of them too.
We’re rising because we want change and we believe it’s possible. And doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
Events in Dublin include a flash mob at 6 p.m. today on Grafton Street and another at the same time in Dun Laoghaire. See V-DAY One Billion Rising: Ireland for more information.
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