14 February 2013 by

One Billion Rising: Eve Ensler On The Radical Dance Protest Over Violence Against Women

One Billion Rising Flash Mob in Bristol

Today, one billion people across the globe will stand up and dance as part of a revolutionary campaign to end violence against women. One Billion Rising, a day of action and protest, has touched women worldwide - and thanks to its founder Eve Ensler, writer of The Vagina Monologues, this campaign is now on the agenda of David Cameron, major media outlets around the world - and it's already trending on Twitter. GraziaDaily spoke to Eve ahead of the big day...

Grazia: What is One Billion Rising about?

Eve: One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. That’s one billion women. For the 15th anniversary of V Day [a global movement organised by Eve to end violence against women and girls] we decided to escalate things. I thought: ‘what if we got one billion women to dance on one day?’ I believe the energy will connect us all and put violence against woman at the top of the agenda.

Grazia: What does violence against women encompass?

Eve: It encompasses a lot of things. I think obviously there’s domestic battery, genital mutilation, rape, bulling and there’s acid burning, honour killings, trafficking, degradation, poverty is a form of violence. Everyone is defining violence for themselves and rising for what they want to be rising for the thing they want to end.

Grazia: Why do you feel violence against women is marginalised?

Eve: It’s the issue we get to after all the other issues. If anything else was happening to one billion people we’d be talking about it all the time.

Eve Ensler gives a speech at the 'London Rising' launch of One Billion Rising

Grazia: What inspired you?

Eve: We’ve been doing V Day for 15 years. We’ve had enormous victories we’re a worldwide movement in 140 countries, we’ve raised $100millon, we’ve supported local groups, we’ve broken silences, we’ve changed taboos, we’ve brought women into leadership positions, we’ve helped change laws but we haven’t ended violence. The UN says one in 3 women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime - that’s one billion women.  So that’s the number we aimed for in our anniversary campaign.

Grazia: Why dance?

Eve: As women, we spend our lives worrying about where we’re going to walk, what we should wear and how we’re going to behave in order to be safe. When we dance we don’t have to think about that. We experience what life would be like if we were free, if we could wear what we wanted and do what we wanted, without fear of someone attacking, raping or gawking at us.

Grazia: Which countries have you been most impressed by?

Eve: India. I was there after Jyoti Singh was murdered and I was incredibly moved by how many Indians are rising up against sexual violence. I’m also impressed with countries like Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan where women are risking their lives. In Iran women will even be dancing in their living rooms...

... Will you? Join in and show your support. #1billionrising


Comments

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Vicki Wharton (Sat Feb 08 18:15:56 GMT 2014): Its not sexual violence, its sexist violence. Its violence designed to humiliate and put the female in her place, that of the inferior. We do not tolerate racist violence, and yet sexist violence by men is always spoken about as the fault of the victim, thereby removing the need to talk about male superiority as a belief system and the violence it inspires against women and children. If you believe yourself to be superior to someone else, then your yes counts more than their no.