South Okanagan  

Good turnout for One Billion Rising

Women who have experienced domestic abuse, those who support them and children were among those attending a One Billion Rising event Thursday.

The event held in Oliver by V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos  was to show solidarity with others celebrating the movement worldwide.

“We are joining millions of people all over the world who are protesting the status quo that one in three women are beaten or raped in their lifetime worldwide,” said organizer Paula Rodriguez de la Vega.

The movement calling for the end of violence against women and girls was started by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and founder of  V-Day.

Participants are asked to dance, walk, rise up and demand  an end to violence.

At Medici’s Gelateria and Coffee House, where the event was held, people dressed in black and red clothing to show solidarity.

Statistics on violence against women were provided by Roxie Van Aller, executive director of Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre.

Among them that BC has the distinct pleasure of being the province with the highest number of domestic abuse cases. Fifty two percent of women in the province will experience violence in their lives.

There were also readings and dancing to 'Break the Chain," the One Billion Rising anthem.

Ensler's “Rising” monologue, which she composed during her recent travels in India, was read by Ursula Wick.

“This could have been anywhere, and was. A Buddhist nun on a bus, trying to stay dry for the night…, a woman leader speaking out against the repressive government, a young woman travelling with her boyfriend. One lost her voice. The other her following, the last one her life,” she read.

Darlene George, an Osoyoos Indian Band member, told the crowd, V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos refuses to stand by as more than a billion women experience violence.

“One billion rising is shaking the world into a new consciousness.  We are dancing across every country on every continent,” she read. “Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction, but we go there together. It’s dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy and disruptive. It breaks the rules.”

And when it came time to dance near the end of the event, everyone, from small children to grandmothers, to the sprinkling of men attending did just that.

George said she was glad to be there doing her part.

“I was in an abusive relationship in Mission and you know violence against women, especially in native communities, has escalated,” she said. “So when the opportunity came up to be a part of this I jumped at it. It is something I believe in strongly.”

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