Rape or beatings will be experienced by one in three girls and women in their lives. That means one billion mothers, daughters, friends and lovers will be subjected to this horrific experience.
Focusing world attention on the need to stop violence against women One Billion Rising began on February 14th 20013. Known as V-Day it takes place in over 200 countries including Bangladesh, Bosnia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria and Kenya as well as Byron Bay bringing women, men and children together to dance in defiance of violence.
‘It is a special dance to a piece of music written especially for the event called Break the Chain,’ said local organiser Stroma Lawson.
Taking place on main beach in Byron Bay for the 5th year running this February 14th from 7am people are invited to gather together, wearing red clothes and join in the dance.
‘It has very moving words about domestic violence and there is a routine choreographed to go along with the song that you can learn online.’
The importance of V-Day is currently being highlighted in Russia where they are in the process of decriminalising domestic violence. On January 27th Russia’s lower chamber passed a bill that will ‘decriminalize a first offense of family violence that does not cause serious harm requiring hospital treatment,’ according to a recent report by human rights watch.
‘Only violence that leads to serious injuries like broken bones or a concussion would remain criminalized. The law would apply to violence against any family member, including women and children. Abusers, if found guilty, would face a minimal fine, up to 15 days’ administrative arrest, or compulsory community service.’
In response to the high risk of sexual assault, especially for younger women, in Byron Shire the organisers have been working with a number of young women’s groups in the area. ‘This year I am wanting to get more young women involved. Because this is about making sure they feel free and strong,’ said Ms Lawson.
Concluding the V-Day dance will be two entertaining evenings of Vagina Conversations on February 14 and 15 at the Byron Community from 7.30pm. Hosted by Zenith Virago, stories both funny and sad will be told about vaginas and orgasams by a fantasic range of the Shires women including Mandy Nolan, Annalee Atia, Bintou Burns, Jess Lu, Catheryn, Jenny Cargill-Strong, Jess Simms and Tamar Ben-Hur.
The money raised will go to the Domestic Violence Escape Fund for the local Women’s Resource Service.
Tickets are available through the Byron Community Centre website.