One Billion Rising is a global campaign against violence Thursday. Individual women, men and children, over 13, 000 organizations, governments, politicians, leaders, actors and writers from over 180 countries, are walking out, dancing, rising up and demanding an end to violence against women and girls. One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime or about one billion women.
Our community is not immune. As we all read in our local news, violence lives in the Berkshires, including aggravated assault, violent crimes, rape cases and police responses to domestic disputes. February 14 is an opportunity for one billion women and those who love them, to create a new vision and a new way of being where violence against women and girls ends. It is an opportunity to create solidarity, across borders to refuse a culture of cruelty.
There will be a number of events in Berkshire County Thursday with a call to rise, speak out and dance to "break the chain" of violence (instructional video available on www.onebillionrising.org) and an invitation for all to celebrate and dance at Spice Dragon in Pittsfield at 6 p.m. as a way to collectively shift a culture of repeated atrocities, to one of celebrating our commonalities and community commitment to actions of peace.
Why do we rise? The activist and author Vandana Shiva, said "The victim of the Delhi gang rape has triggered a social revolution. We must sustain it, deepen it, and expand it." In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn wrote: "There’s a growing recognition among everyone, from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, to aid organizations like CARE, that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution."
The Dalai Lama shared, "We need to use our common sense, and encourage others to use theirs, to understand what violence towards women and girls entails. .. The only certainty is that where there is violence, always and inevitably there is suffering. Understanding that the nature of violence is suffering, leads to a clear understanding of its harmfulness and futility. When an unjust situation demands a strong response, compassion demands not that we accept injustice, but that we stake a stand against it."
If you wonder how dancing is a form of rising, Dr. Christiane Northrup, writer and physician said, "We must replace fighting with dancing, hitting each other with holding hands, tears with laughter, shouting with singing. Dancing is the solution itself."
I rise, because a new foundation of health, individually and globally, relies on our thoughts, our voices and our actions arising from an unwavering commitment to peace for girls, for women, for all. What better way to create a new possibility for health, then with good food, friends and dance. I’ll see you at Spice Dragon Thursday at 6 p.m. with my Valentine. (For more info: http://www.wam
NINA MOLIN, M.D.