The Pacific dances for global One Billion Rising anti-rape campaign | Pacific Beat

The Pacific dances for global One Billion Rising anti-rape campaign

The Pacific dances for global One Billion Rising anti-rape campaign

Updated 14 February 2013, 13:46 AEDT

The Pacific today joins a global campaign, One Billion Rising to try to end rape and violence against women and girls.

The name One Billion Rising comes from an estimate of the number women and girls in the world who'll suffer rape or beatings during their lifetimes.

Poltical leaders, royalty, and everyday women across the globe hope to raise awareness to the depressing statistic and try end the violence.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Roshika Deo, Fiji Co-ordinator, One Billion Rising

DEO: We've actually been creating awareness about the campaign from last year in November onwards. So today basically what we'll be doing is we'll be marching, we'll be dancing and we'll be walking down the streets at peak time during lunch and on busy streets. And then we'll be gathering at the park and sharing stories, experiences and taking pledges as to what we will do, what we'll do on an individual level in terms of ending violence against girls and women. So that's just one of the events that is happening. There'll be some flash mobs later in the afternoon, and then in the evening we have the Vagina Monologue production.

COUTTS: Which is what?
DEO: So the Vagina Monologue basically is a story and experiences of real women that is used as a form of creating awareness. And also challenging status quo where saying the word vagina makes people uncomfortable, people cringe, people are startled when you say the word, they are embarrassed when it is just a body part. So it is about celebrating women's individuality, it is about basically celebrating women's stories and experiences through the Vagina Monologue play is about that, which is happening later this evening today.
COUTTS: Now do you think that many will turn out to take part in the activities that are organised today?
DEO: I think so from the responses I've been getting so far yes. And I think a lot of people are looking for some form of avenue to express their outrage at everyday incidences of girls and women being harassed, being beaten up, being raped. So I think yes a lot of people will show up and because we have a Facebook page also, a lot of activity, a lot of people are liking the page, commenting, responding and then we've been having the practice for the song which is the official song for this campaign and is called Break the Chain. So a lot of people have been showing up and talking about it. And we've been doing a few other events like dyeing our hair, getting in groups and talking about it, launching it in different parts of Fiji. So yes, yes, I think a lot of people will show up.
COUTTS: And with that music are you asking people to get out in the streets and dance as well?
DEO: Yes actually dance is a component of this One Billion Rising campaign. It is dancing in history and for this V-Day campaign under One Billion Rising campaign, it's being used as a form of non-violent protest. It's something that will connect all the people, all the cultures all over the world. There's over 200 countries that are doing something today. So imagine so many people, more than a billion people all over the world on the same day dancing, marching, walking and doing whatever they can. So we're hoping that this will shake the world, this will shake humanity into consciousness, and this will also connect people all over the world with purpose and with energy, and bring about the revolution that we need now to end this crisis, this war on women and girls.
COUTTS: Is the argument that it's part of culture, this domestic violence, are you breaking through that, is there an understanding now that it's actually not?
DEO: That's we're trying to do and that's what a lot of women's organisations in Fiji and around the Pacific and the world have been trying to do. And yes, it is about breaking that culture of silence, it is about challenging status quo, where rape culture and where domestic violence has become the norm, is being treated as the norm. So there's so many things we're hoping that through this campaign, through the escalation of this campaign today, and from here onwards, that's what we're hoping we will do, create the change where we challenge the status quo, we change culture, where we refuse to accept it as part of the norm. And where we defy rape and rape culture and try to break the culture of silence that is so prevalent on issues of violence against girls and women.

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