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Life Changing Moments: One Billion Rising in Paris

by Meredith Mullins on February 21, 2013

Women Dancing at One Billion Rising in Paris in a Life Changing Moment to Stop Violence Against Women

One Billion Rising in Paris
© Meredith Mullins

Stop Violence Against Women

A convergence of forces.

Start with  . . .

An ongoing annual event on Valentine’s Day to stop violence against women and girls (organized since 1998 by Eve Ensler, women’s rights activist and creator of “The Vagina Monologues”).

Fuel it with . . .

Recent brutalities, including the gang rape of Jyoti Singh in India, the shooting of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, and the alledged gang rape of a young woman in Steubenville, Ohio, by members of the high school football team.

Punctuate it with . . .

A world cry that enough is enough.

Decide . . .

To make this year’s Valentine’s Day a global day of action.

Add . . .

Media momentum and star power (Jane Fonda, Anne Hathaway, Anoushka Shankar, Rosario Dawson, the prime ministers of Australia and Croatia, the Queen Mother of Bhutan)

The result: One Billion Rising—Life Changing Moments for the World

Flash Mob at One Billion Rising, a life changing moment to stop violence against women

Flash Mob at One Billion Rising in Paris
© Meredith Mullins

Valentine’s Day: One Billion Rising

What were the goals of One Billion Rising as it staged a global flash mob, dance, and revolution on Valentine’s Day 2013?

  • To raise awareness
  • To bring people around the world together with one voice, in one act of solidarity
  • To demand an end to violence against women and girls

And, indeed, One Billion Rising met its goals.

We delivered facts to raise awareness: One in every three women in the world will be raped or beaten—one billion women. This is an atrocity.

We came together, in countries all over the world. We danced. We talked. We smiled as if we’d known each other for a lifetime. We grew stronger with numbers.

We, in Paris, felt a bond with those who “rose up” in India, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Somalia, the U.K., Nepal, South Africa, the Philippines, the U.S. and every other country in the world, all of which had group action set for the day.

With our voices strong, we asked for an end to violence against women and girls.

Dancer at One Billion Rising, a life changing moment to stop violence against women

Rise up and dance
© Meredith Mullins

Oh, I See

It is possible to raise awareness with a global event. It is possible to feel a unity, a bond, across vast physical and cultural distances, with song and dance and justified cause. The reward was a joyful OIC moment, but there was need for more.

Oh, I Wonder

At the Paris gathering, I asked people why they were there and what would come next. I was relieved to hear that most had a plan.

Many were already a part of organizations active in women’s rights issues. Many vowed to continue the fight for strong legislation. Many said they would take action every day to transform the world. All were committed to justice, equality, and respect.

Who wouldn’t be, you ask? Too many. That’s why we have to make our voices heard.

Participant in One Billion Rising raises the one billion sign in a life changing moment to stop violence against women.

One World; One Billion Rising
© Meredith Mullins

Oh, I Hope

The V-Day roar was loud and clear. For one brief shining moment our voices amplified the message. An energy emerged—worldwide—and it was powerful. Life changing moments occurred. But the news cycle is short.

Now, one week later, the voices are a little fainter. Where will they be one month from now . . . one year from now?

Was One Billion Rising enough?


But it’s a start.

Now . . . it’s time to change the world.


Others involved in the movement to stop violence against women:  One Billion RisingEve Ensler, RAINN, Amnesty International, The Advocates for Human Rights.

Comment on this post below, or inspire insight with your own OIC Moment here.


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