One Billion Rising in a call for freedom on Valentine’s Day

kiranaFor many people Valentine’s Day is a time for pink and red, flowers and chocolate. But for some women this year, February 14 is all about dancing.

Around the world, women and men will put on their dancing shoes for One Billion Rising, an annual event bringing people together to rise up and call for an end to violence against women.

This year marks the second time the global One Billion Rising movement is held in Indonesia. In 2013, around  400 people gathered in the national monument in Jakarta.

Dhyta Caturani is one of the organizers for the One Billion Rising event in Jakarta.

“Dancing is symbolic of liberating our bodies, women’s bodies that have been limited in their movement. Women face limitations in the clothes they wear, and their attitudes” she said. “And [dancing] is fun.”

“Almost all cultures in the world have dance. We call it a move to embrace, not merely to clench our fists,” Dhyta said.

According to the National Commission for Violence Against Women, more than 216.000 violent acts against women in Indonesia were recorded in 2012.

Ical, a 21 year-old who also helped organize the movement, voiced similar concerns.

“Almost each day, on Facebook, on Twitter, I would see news about rape. Almost three times, each day. I am sick and tired of that,” he said.

“And most of the perpetrators are men. So I think men should stand up against violence against women.”

This year, One Billion Rising Jakarta will again be held in the National Monument.

Starting from two in the afternoon, participants are urged to dance. There will also be performances from local singers and dancers, including a belly dancer.

At least six other cities in Indonesia will host One Billion Rising gathering this year.

In Fiji, event co-ordinator Roshika Deo is also busy with preparations for risings in Suva and in Fiji’s Western Division.

“It’s a different way to spend Valentine’s Day, by making a difference in the world,” she said. “And by actually also changing your perspective and opening your mind to things you don’t usually hear about but that are happening in our society.”

At the events in Fiji, as with events around the world, men are joining in to voice their opposition to gender-based violence.

“Last year when we did One Billion Rising, [...] we actually had an equal number of men and women involved.   And a lot of the men were speaking out,” Roshika said.

In Melbourne, the 2013 event in Federation Square was attended by around 2,000 participants.

This year, One Billion Rising is slated to be held in the same location, kicking off at 6 pm.

“We will open and close the event with ‘ Break the Chains’ which is the flagship official One Billion Rising dance. We are also going to have a performance by members of Gabriela Australia, the Filipino women’s group. They will be doing a Filipino version of ‘Break the Chains,’” Tamar Spatz from One Billion Rising Melbourne said.

“We have a performance by a Vietnamese dance group. They will be doing a traditional Vietnamese dance to a pop style of music, we are going to have a Bollywood dance…” she continued.

Those present will also be encouraged to dance along.

In between, a series of pre recorded video messages from members of the community calling for an end to violence and exploitation of women will be played.


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