One Billion Rising: 'It's Like a Feminist Tsunami'

... Eve Ensler launched the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women ... 14 February, the date that Ensler, activist and author of The Vagina Monologues, designated the "day to rise", ...

... the campaign has taken on a different hue in each of the 190 countries where events to mark 14 February are  planned.

"It is something that has gone across class, social group and religion. It's like a huge feminist tsunami,"...

... two videos, among hundreds, sum up how Ensler's idea inspires campaigners. The first is the one that launched the new anthem written and produced by Grammy-award-winning  Tena Clark, Break the Chain , with a video choreographed by Debbie Allen, who went on to make her own accompanying  "how to" dance video. The second is one produced by campaigners in  Norwich.

In the US, veteran campaigner Pat Reuss is also hoping to use support for OBR in every state to resuscitate the  Violence Against Women Act that provides protection for victims, yet which Congress failed to reauthorise last year.

... what's happening to move violence against women to the forefront of the agenda," says Ensler. "It will never be a marginalised issue again ... At this point it really feels like a wave with a life of its own."

[emphasis mine]

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I'm glad that awareness is growing on violence against women, and that these are finally becoming global issues.  I know some morality is relative, but I won't support anyone who thinks that FGM, rape, or domestic violence are "cultural" issues that people shouldn't interfere in is moral bankrupt in my opinion.

The courage of the vigilante feminists is contagious

Laurie Penny reports on the international movement of women rising up.

In Ireland and Egypt – and beyond – women are coming together to combat sexual violence

Egyptian woman protester holds up a knife

Protesters hold up knives in a show of defiance during a protest in Cairo against rape and sexual harrassment on 6 February 2013.

Sexism often functions as a pressure-release valve in times of social unrest – and when it does, it takes different forms, depending on local values. Right now, in Egypt, it's groping, heckling and mob attacks; in Ireland, it's rape apologism and a backlash against abortion and sexual equality; on the internet, it's vicious slut-shaming and "revenge porn". But this time, women are refusing to take it any more.

Like the Arab spring and Occupy in 2011, local movements with no apparent connection to one another are exchanging information and taking courage from one another's struggles. The fight against misogyny is spreading online and via networks of solidarity and trust that develop rapidly, outside the traditional channels.

As if on some secret signal, women and their allies across the world have expressed a collective lack of faith in governments and police forces to deal with endemic sexism.

Tiny groups that meet on Facebook and Twitter turn into gangs prepared to meet violence with violence in self-defence. This month the government of India was frightened into taking a stand on rape culture by the very real prospect of riots in the streets. On the internet, where until recently misogynist abuse has often been accepted, vigilantes are systematically exposing bullies and harassers and publishing their names. In Cairo last week, women yelled for the Morsi administration to acknowledge and deal with street harassment – but they also brandished knives.

When people fight misogyny, they aren't just fighting governments and police forces, religious organisations and strangers in the streets – they also have to deal with intolerance from their loved ones, from their colleagues, from friends and family members who can't or won't understand. Over the last few weeks I have been humbled by the bravery of the activists I've met, particularly the women. It takes a special sort of courage to cast off shame, to risk not just violence but also intimate rejection for the sake of a better future. And the thing about courage is that it's contagious.




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