Monday, February 11, 2013

Circle by Swan Dive

"Used to be that love didn't matter to me and I could take it or I could leave it and never miss you. Came back around and I finally found what I wanted and what I wanted was to be with you."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One Billion Rising

"One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime."

My friend Reiko invited me to participate in a dancing flash mob to protest violence against women. I said yes. I love seeing her, I've always wanted to participate in a dancing flash mob, and I'm against violence against women. That was easy.

I thought I'd take a closer look at what this was about and ended up at onebillionrising.org staring at that quote. Surely that can't be true.

The long dormant foot-note lover and resource chaser that lives in my head woke up. Next thing I knew we were at Unifem, which is part of the Women's Fund at the United Nations (remember them?)

There I found the 2003 Report (scroll to the bottom of that page for the full table of contents) along with relevant quotes such as:

"Throughout the world, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, such as beating, rape, or assault"


Ok. When you bring it down to more generalized violence and include assault it now seems more reasonable.

One in three sounds like a lot, but if I start thinking of all the women I know who have shared their stories it rings true. It's rare for these stories to come out, it's just not something you talk about much when you're a strong woman trying to live your life. If you're not an activist or are just trying to move on it might not be a part of your past that pops up in conversation much.

But when you ask, when you start talking, the stories come pouring. Their own and their friend's stories. Those are the stories I've heard. When you think of all the ones who would rather not share, the numbers go up.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have not been beaten or raped. I have led a very sheltered life in part thanks to overprotective parents who drove me back and forth the four blocks to school all the way through graduation. When I left their orbit to protection I created my own by practicing a martial art on a daily basis for thirteen years.

But that hasn't spared me from being the target of lesser forms of violence against my body. Multiple times. And that's while living in civilized part of the world where women have rights and are relatively respected.

Getty Images from this article
I'm one of the lucky ones, but protecting myself and being protected my parents and those who love me has to do with not getting raped.

The burden of rape and of the culture of violence against women remains on women. Dress this way, do this, don't do that and that's how you'll stay safe.

We often choose to ignore that we live in a world where violence against women is an accepted thing and something women have to deal with and accept. It is part of daily life.

But should it be? What would the world be like if it weren't.

Imagine not having to having to have to factor in having to avoid walking past construction sites and warehouses when choosing which way to walk to the subway on your way to work. Imagine the power of feeling safe walking home at night. Imagine never again getting groped on the subway. Imagine the power of feeling you have the right to say no to doing something that makes you uncomfortable. That's just the relatively minor things us lucky ones have to deal with.

What if instead of teaching don't get raped we switched it to don't rape?

Dancing in a park has nothing to do with any of this. My dancing won't save a woman in India. My dancing won't stop a husband from beating his wife. It won't keep a boss from getting touchy feely. But if dancing in the park will raise awareness, I'll dance to that. The more people are fighting violence against women, the more support the women who are suffering violence will have which might help them be able to rise and leave that violence behind.

It might not be much, but it is something I can do. It might be just a drop, but what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?1

Will you dance?



For more info on the movement, please go to OneBillionRising.org. Feel free to contact me if you're in New York City and want to meet me to dance in Washington Square park on V-Day. It's this event. For more events, go here.



1"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops" David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.