one billion rising

One Billion Rising in Florence Italy

one billion rising

Yesterday I spontaneously decided to stop by piazza della repubblica to witness the Florence, Italy version of the world-wide “One billion Risingflashmob campaign promoting awareness of violence against women. This event was started by activist Eve Ensler for the past 15 years always on Valentine’s Day.

Just going myself and seeing how many people showed up was really inspiring. When I got home and did a little more research – it wowed me that all over the world – from Somalia to Bangladesh to New York, people were participating in all sorts of rallys and dancing in sync for this cause.

Violence against women is anything but new, as I mentioned in my post about safety in Florence, this has always been a huge problem everywhere in the world and we have seen in the increased new stories about rapes and murders around the world in 2013.  To quote the Guardian Uk.

“Hundreds of women and men marched through streets in Afghanistan. One said they were protesting against the women “sold and raped, and subjected to other violence” in the country. tens of thousands of people were said to have joined rallies and dance events in India, where there is still widespread anger over the recent gang rape and murder of a medical student in Delhi. In Somalia, more than 300 women gathered in Wardhigley district, an area of Mogadishu governed by a woman, to dance and listen to poetry. About 600 people danced and sang in one of the five events in Egypt.”

  • In the USA a woman is battered, usually by her husband/partner, every 15 seconds (UN Study on the World’s Women, 2000)
  • In Bangladesh 50% of all murders are of women by their partners (Joni Seager, 2003).
  • In Pakistan 42% of women accept violence as part of their fate; 33% feel too helpless to stand up to it; 19% protested and 4% took action against it (Government study in Punjab 2001
  •  One in four South African men has admitted to having raped a woman, according to a widely cited study from 2009.
  • In Egypt, 35% of women report being physically abused at least once in their marriages

The list goes on but I think you understand how prevalent violence of any kind against women really is, which is why I have a lot of respect for what Eve is trying to do & for the issue itself. My hope is that more women speak out against their attackers and receive justice though I realize that varies from country to country. In America, some of our own senators have pretty draconian ways of examining violence against women — believe me it’s not just in a country far far away.

Below are some photos and videos of yesterdays flash mob, did you happen to attend? What did you think? 

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  1. kat

    One of the things that most surprised and impressed me when I was living in Spain (and I think maybe they do this in Italy too) was that every night on the news they would say the number of women that had been killed by domestic violence in the country so far that year. I don’t know if they have higher or lower rates of violence than we do in the US, because we don’t seem to publicly keep track of it in the same way… but I thought it was a good step to publicize the problem.
    Back in America I went to a women’s college, where we used to “celebrate” Valentine’s day each year with a performance of the Vagina Monologues to bring attention to these issues as well.


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