One Billion Rising

The One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign called on women and men from around the world to rise up and dance for justice! Last year on Valentine’s Day, over one billion people in 207 countries gathered together, demanding an end to violence against women and girls. This movement aims to create global solidarity between women’s organizations in various countries and to build a supportive sisterhood amongst women around the world. This event makes sure that violence against women is impossible to ignore; creating a safe and free space for violated women to tell their stories and healing their trauma by dancing in public, open spaces.

Now here’s a look at the movement in communities of the African diaspora:


Congolese children hold signs saying "The Congo is Not Invisible" during a One Billion Rising rally in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Photo Courtesy of STRINGER/REUTERS.

Congolese children hold signs saying “The Congo is Not Invisible” during a One Billion Rising rally in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Photo Courtesy of STRINGER/REUTERS.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the most dangerous place on the planet to be a woman or a girl. It is a nation that uses sexual violence to torture, destroy families, and humiliate women and girls. Female survivors of gender-based violence are regularly ostracized by their families and communities. In 2007, V-Day launched the Congo Campaign, a grassroots effort that seeks to raise awareness about the level of gender violence in the DRC. Providing support to activists in the DRC and around the globe who are working to end the violence and change perceptions about gender and sexual violence.


Congolese women rally together during a One Billion Rising rally in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Photo Courtesy of STRINGER/REUTERS.

Congolese women rally together during a One Billion Rising rally in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Photo Courtesy of STRINGER/REUTERS.


South Africa is a nation that is unfortunately known for its high statistics of gender-based violence, mainly in the form of rape. Last year, there were approximately 64,000 reported cases of rape, which experts say is most likely just a fraction of the actual number of incidents. A 2010 government survey reported that one in four South African women have been victims of rape; and one in three South African men questioned had admitted to raping at least one woman in his lifetime.

Mbali Khumalo, a first-year University of Cape Town law student and founding member of V-Girls South Africa, powerfully describes what it feels like to be a women living in South Africa and the dangers females face on a daily basis.

“The Constitution respects me and embraces my diversity. It loves the fact that I’m Black and female, and would love me just the same if I weren’t. It listens to my issues and is open to changing with the times. I love our Constitution but I find myself unsatisfied. With all that power and supremacy, you’d think there would be no space for discrimination, abject poverty, rape and violence. The pocket-sized book does not serve as an invisibility cloak that will protect me when I walk to the bus stop after a long night in the library, or when I’m told that the color of my skin makes me unworthy. When faced with these harsh realities of an unjust world, the pocket-sized super hero just becomes a book with a plethora of great words in it.”

In July 2013, South African filmmaker Tony Stroebel released his short film that he made for the campaign called Rising. Here’s a look at the film which also has footage from the 2013 One Billion Rising events.

For more information about the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign or if you would like to be a part of V-Day 2014, please click here.



By Jami Goodman

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  1. Chloe

     /  February 10, 2015

    I think this is a very powerful movement and a good example or case study of what makes an effective campaign. Similar to many current events taking place now and through history, women and girls’ rights are not an exclusive issue, it is a human issue that should involve everybody, as this trailer clip shows. I think it is also important that dance is the main act of expression for this campaign because it is a global one and dance is something that is relevant to all cultures and does not require one specific language to be spoken in order to make your mark or “speak out.” Utilizing something so seemingly simple as dance allows anybody who wishes to participate and express themselves and feel a sense of connectedness to their fellow One Billion Rising activists.


  2. Victoria Williams

     /  February 10, 2015

    Its 2015 and women still seem to be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to gender equality. I haven’t heard of this one billion rising campaign until now and i’m delighted to hear of its existence. I interned with an organization this past summer in South Africa seeking justice for women and children who are victims of human trafficking, rape and prostitution. I have my critiques of South Africa’s constitution but I’ll save that commentary. Overall I believe this is an excellent campaign, I’m going to spread the word about it and I hope that one day women will be respected as the givers of life they are to the world, and not have their lives destroyed by enforcers of misogynistic beliefs in our global patriarchal society.



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