How a global community is rising to stop violence against women

For many of us, Valentine's Day is synonymous with roses and romance. But for millions of people in 205 countries, February 14 is quickly becoming a global day of rising.

One Billion Rising is a global campaign founded by Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler, referencing the statistic that one billion women globally will fall victim to sexual, physical or emotional abuse. It aims to get one billion people rising around the world on February 14 every year to protest violence against women and girls. 

This week, thousands of women did just that as One Billion Rising travelled all over the world.

Recounting all the global activities on the day, Ensler declared that the movement had gone "beyond her wildest dreams".

"This has been one of the most beautiful days. It has been massive."

We take a look at the global day of action as the international community rose up to say "no more".

New Zealand
The global campaign kicked off in New Zealand, where Maori women led a mass healing in Auckland.

Prime Minister Gillard released a video throwing her support behind the cause and organised gatherings took place around the country, with dozens turning up in St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney to perform an organised dance to the official song Break The Chain, and hundreds gathering in Federation Square in Melbourne to dance and protest.

Cutting off 15 blocks in Manila and protected by police, 2,000 women and activists took to the streets to parade and dance through the city with a party that lasted 24 hours.

Members and supporters of various sexual minority groups during a protest meeting against all forms of physical and mental violence against women and girls in Kolkata on February 14, 2013. (Image: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

India has been the centre of global outrage following widespread reports on the pervasive nature of sexual abuse in the country. A collective performance was held near Jantar Mantar, where thousands had previously gathered in December to protest against the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old student. In Mumbai, a noisy "open drum circle" was held by the sea at sunset and a "ceremonial burial" of patriarchy and misogyny took place in Gurgaon city, near the capital.


In the US many advocacy groups used the campaign as an opportunity to bring attention to the Violence Against Women's Act, which is currently waiting to pass through Congress. In Los Angeles, celebrities including Anne Hathaway and Jane Fonda gathered at events in Hollywood to lend their support.

(L-R) Ruby Wax, Kathy Lette and Jahmene Douglas at the One Billion Rising Campaign at Houses of Parliament (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Actress Thandie Newton, comedian Ruby Wax and politician Yvette Cooper lent their voices to the campaign at an event in Westminster where 109 balloons were released in memory of the suspected murders of 109 women killed by men last year in the UK. Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his support for the movement.

In Kathmandu, performance artists danced among protesters and security.

In a country where women are not often heard chanting for their rights, hundreds of Afghan women took to the streets of the capital to show their solidarity against violence against women.


Bangladeshi school girls formed a human chain to participate in a One Billion Rising rally in Dhaka.

In Addis Ababa a rising was organised by the Studio Samuel Foundation, which provides help, treatment and work opportunities to young women who grew up in Ethiopia's orphanages.

Democratic Republic of Congo
Joining One Billion Rising pioneer Eve Ensler, thousands of women gathered in the City of Joy refuge in Bikavu to dance and protest.


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