“Today, on the planet, a billion women — one of every three women on the planet — will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends violated. V-Day REFUSES to stand by as more than a billion women experience violence.” One Billion Rising is organizing a global revolution of love and respect on Valentine’s Day, but they are not alone. The Idle No More Movement, which has done much to bring awareness to native and environmental issues, is joining in solidarity. Is Idle No More an unlikely ally to One Billion Rising? Not at all! As discussed in, Solidarity Against Rape and Pillage, raping pristine stretches of nature and violating women may be different acts but they are both rooted in a similar abuse of power which includes unrestrained exploitation without consent. What is most exciting is that Idle No More and One Billion Rising are movements started by women who are determined to get attention and support for these most noble causes through dancing!
Image Courtesy of V-Day
The notion of dirty, uneducated, lazy, angry protestors revolting has been unsuccessfully used in an effort to invalidate and discredit social movements like Occupy Wall Street, but it will be even harder to tarnish and refute the beauty of One Billion Women Rising. In the same regard, Idle No More has brought fancy dancers, hoop dancers, full of color with drumming and singing into public places. These are aspects of something new, something very hopeful, these are examples of educated, creative, and non-violent individuals engaged in a beautiful uprising.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day was founded by Eve Ensler and inspired by her award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, that was made into a film for television in 2002. Each year, the play is produced all over the world to raise awareness and funds to help rape victims and there are currently 5,800 V-Day related events annually. This year promises to be the biggest ever.
While Native People are no longer willing to sit idle over abuse of lands and treaties, they are also bringing awareness to the unreported and non-investigated abuse of native women. Members from the non-group called Anonymous have also chimed in with their #OpThunderbird, stating, “Our Sisters are Beautiful. Our Sisters are Powerful. Our Sisters should Expect to live Without Fear.” Lakota Grandmothers are rising and “silent no more” about genocide with a film called Red Cry. In Lakota Country, Traditional Indigenous Women’s Societies signed an international treaty for protecting the sacred. In addition, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has joined in solidarity along with thousands of individuals, communities and celebrities around the world. Native People have always taught respect and reverence for the mother of all mothers, Mother Earth.
This article would not be complete without including Code Pink, which is naturally participating in the One Billion Rising events planned for February 14. Code Pink is another wonderful grassroots organization initiated by women working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.
I am overjoyed and grateful to see such strong, hopeful movements converging and I invite you to learn more about One Billion Rising by visiting their website to find an event near you and join in the dance. People everywhere are taking lead to become the change they wish to see in the world. Shall we dance in support of women everywhere? Shall we dance in reverence to protect the sacred Mother Earth? Shall we celebrate a beautiful uprising filled with love and compassion on Valentines Day? I think so!
*Article originally appeared in Huffington Post 2-7-13, updated for Culture Collective*