Valentine’s Day rally at City Hall aims to stop violence against women

The Rape Crisis Center of Milford is organizing a local version of an event called One Billion Rising to draw attention to violence against women and the efforts to end that violence.

The local event, which is part of a worldwide campaign, will take place Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, at noon on the steps of Milford City Hall.

One Billion Rising is calling on more than one billion people in more than 179 countries to rise up, strike, dance, and demand an end to violence against women and girls.

Events are planned worldwide at schools, city halls and other places.

Milford people who want to get involved are asked to show up at 11:50 a.m. on the steps of City Hall and wear pink or red.

Rape Crisis Center leaders will talk a bit, share information and display signs about solidarity among women. They will ask for a moment of silence at the short observance, and will be available after the assembly to answer questions.

People may show their support in other ways, too, by organizing a dance or moment of silence at school or work. Rape Crisis Center Director Ann Fabian said students at Lauralton Hall will perform the official “One Billion Rising” dance at their school.

Fabian said people can make a sign, talk about the event, change their Facebook profile picture to the One Billion Rising logo, or contact their legislators to demand legislation that prioritizes legislation that protects women and girls from violence.

Eve Ensler, Tony Award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues, launched One Billion Rising in early 2012, according to the website OneBillionRising.org. The campaign is a global grassroots movement that, “from Lima to Paris, New Delhi to Kinshasa, Manila to Bahrain is clamoring, loud and clear, for the end of violence towards women and girls.”

“On February 14, one billion women, and those who love them, will join activists, celebrities, writers, thinkers, and artists, to strike, dance in an effort to break the cycle of violence,” the website states.

The group’s message is as follows:

One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

One billion women violated is an atrocity.

One billion women dancing is a revolution.

One Billion Rising is a “global strike, an invitation to dance, a call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends; an act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers; a refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given, and a new time and a new way of being.”

The Rape Crisis Center of Milford does a lot to raise awareness about these issues, which exist here as they do other parts of the world.

One of the most notable campaigns is Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which raises money and awareness about recognizing violence and helping to stop it.

The Feb. 14 rally is not a fund-raiser, but just that — a rally to raise awareness, Fabian said.

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