It's called "One Billion Rising" and it's aim is to put a stop to violence that results in one in three women on the planet being raped or beaten in their lifetime
Thursday February the 14th next year has been set as a global day of action when it's hoped one Billion women and those who love them will walk out, dance, rise up, and demand an end to this violence.
Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Roshika Deo, organiser, One Billion Rising Pacific
DEO: Yesterday we officially launched the One Billion Rising Pacific initiative, so we had women from Tonga, PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia who were present there and who participating during the launch, and they will all be taking it back and launching it within their communities back at home for the event to culminate next year.
COUTTS: What are they being asked to do when they go home?
DEO: So basically they've been asked to do a few things, just mainly to create awareness about why this One Billion Rising, that one in three women are subjected to some form of violence during their lifetime, to also create awareness about the kind of violence that they experience in their communities, because in different Pacific Islands whilst we share many commonalities, we also have many differences in the levels of violence and the severity and the forms of violence. So to create awareness about that, to also start mobilising their own groups, friends, colleagues, their leaders in their countries, celebrities and peers, to also attach support for this campaign and to start talking about the violence that women experience to break the culture of silence. And then to organise an event on February 14th, an event that each community or each country will organise will defer, it will depend on the security context of their country, it will depend on the comfort level of each group or community in the different Pacific Island countries. But what we expect is that on the 14th of February next year women, men, children will all walk out, will rise up and will demand an end to this form of violence.
COUTTS: And what's behind the title, "One Billion Rising"?
DEO: Yes the title is "One Billion Rising", that's the official title, in the Pacific region we are calling it "One Billion Rising Pacific". Basically the title came about when the founder of this initiative, Eve Ensler, launched this program last year it was because of the staggering statistics that one in three women on this planet will be beaten or raped or in some way experience a form of violence during her lifetime. With the world population at just over seven billion this adds up to more than one billion, women and girls, who'll experience violence in their lifetime.
COUTTS: And so it's expected that men and women will take part?
DEO: Yes, anyone that defies this kind of violence, anyone that loves the women and girls that are subjected to violence, those who carry love for them will all walk out there and demand an end to this violence.
COUTTS: And is it just this one day where there'll be a march? Are there any other associated activities leading up to or post that One Billion Rising event?
DEO: Yes there will be a lot of events leading up to the actual One Billion Rising rise-up next year, February 14th. So like I mentioned earlier there will be a lot of awareness creating, there will be a lot of talking, there will be a lot of information sharing. So basically to break the culture of silence that exists around this violence that girls and women are subjected to. So there'll be a lot of events in different communities, in different groups, that different countries will organise that will lead-up to the actual event next year. And for post-events we are hoping that once we have all around the world lots of women, girls and other people rising up to demand an end to this violence it will create a revolution, a revolution where people have to stand up and take notice, where the lawmakers have to start putting in laws and policies that protect and prevent violence against girls and women, initiatives need to be taken at the micro level and also at the macro level. So we're hoping that this will be the revolution that will create immediate changes and immediate action by stakeholders, by people, by people in the community, by men, by women, by children.
COUTTS: And are the governments of the Pacific and the judiciary getting behind One Billion Rising?
DEO: We haven't had any response from any of the judiciaries or the governments of other countries. But at this stage we know that there's a lot of women's groups, a lot of rugby groups in the Pacific, a lot of non-conventional groups are getting into the campaign. But right now we don't have any confirmation of any governments or any judiciary of the Pacific being involved in this initiative. We're spreading information as far and wide as we can, we're urging for at least women's ministry in the department of women in different Pacific nations to start mobilising the judiciary, the other state officials to get onto this campaign.