14 March 2013

Reflections on One Billion Rising 14 Feb 2013.

Blog by Louise Robertson.

On 14th February the 28 Too Many team took to the streets of London to participate in a number of One Billion Rising in the UK (OBRUK) events taking place across thecapital. Rather than provide an account of the day which has already been well documented in many blogs, on FaceBook/Twitter and in some brilliant YouTube videos we thought we would mull over our day and capture our top 10 reflections on what happened and what we want to remember.

1. Too many people are ignorant or silent about the scale and impact of sexual violence against women and girls – sexual violence against women and girls has become normalised but it is not acceptable and we should all be loudly demanding that action is taken to end it. One Billion Rising (OBR) highlighted that this is happening every day in every country and, if not you, a women or girl you know will have been beaten, assaulted or raped

2. OBR is a truly global movement – thousands of events across 200+ countries and millions taking part to show they care and to say no to sexual violence against women & girls

3. People took part – yes that means lots of women, girls, men and boys raising their voices and dancing together for a common cause

4. It is a happy and hopeful campaign – there was a great atmosphere at pre-event workshops, flashmobs, rallies and many other events proving that you don’t have to be glum to make some very serious points

5. Politicians from different parties can dance to a single tune – maybe they don’t all have moves like Jagger but many politicians from different political backgrounds shared a platform and worked together to support OBR. Now they need
to stay engaged on this issue and push for action from the Government Ministers who were noticeably quiet on the day

6. Hearing a new voice – for millions of women this was the first time they have taken part in public events and spoken out about the sexual violence which blights so
many lives. We should all listen to what they have to say

7. Social media was used to empower people – all sorts of social media were used, bringing people together to plan, support each other globally and keep sharing news after events have taken place. New technology enabled more people to learn about the movement and get involved

8. Mainstream TV news where were you? – with the notable exception of Channel 4 the main UK broadcasters did not treat OBR as major news which was poor service to their viewers and subscribers, many of whom took part in or supported events

9. Together we are stronger – OBR brought together many diverse groups who focus on specific aspects of violence against women eg. domestic violence, rape or female genital mutilation. Specialisation is necessary for expert work but campaigning together strengthens our voice

10. There is still time to join the campaign and help with the challenges ahead – the OBR train has left the station but there are many more stops on this journey so, if you are not already on board, jump up and join in to make the world a better place.

These are our take-aways from the day. What are yours?

(See Louise’s other OBRUK blog here and other related OBRUK news here)