Valentine’s Day. The mere mention of the holiday conjures up images of greeting cards, red roses and heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates.
But this coming February 14, a group of local women will be bringing awareness of another V-Day to View.
They will join women and men worldwide in recognition of the 15th anniversary of V-Day—the movement to end violence against women and girls.
The V-Day event, One Billion Rising, will bring attention to the statistic that one billion women—one of every three women on the planet—will be violated in some way during their lifetime by rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation, bullying, or sexual harassment.
In an act of solidarity for victims of violence, participants from around the globe will gather to dance, rise up, and demand an end to this violence.
Connie Perry of Inlet—who only last week became aware of One Billion Rising—is responsible for spearheading the local event.
The urgency to pull a local awareness event together was inspired by an internet article she read on gendercide in China and other countries.
“Female children are aborted, killed, or left to die simply because they are girls. That’s where this started for me. It was two related postings that led me to One Billion Rising,” she said.
Perry immediately went into action. She contacted friends Linda Valette, a life coach, and Robin Dwyer, minister of Inlet’s Church of the Lakes, to help pull a program together.
View’s curator, Linda Weal, helped to arrange the use of Gould Hall for the gathering.
Zumba instructor Deb Daiker was quick to offer her assistance with the dance component of the program—a “Break the Chain” dance that can also be performed in a sitting position.
The event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and is open to all.
It will begin with an inspirational message delivered by Robin Dwyer. Participants are invited to bring instruments with them to provide music during the program.
“Our hope is to create a dialogue that will take victims of violence from oppression to empowerment. Violence against women is real, and we are living in ignorance if we don’t recognize it is happening right here,” Valette said.
Input by crisis professionals, members of the clergy, teachers, or those in the field of counseling is welcome.
Anyone interested in offering assistance or in providing materials for distribution is asked to call Perry at (315) 357-6820 or Valette at 369-3451.
“Hopefully the silent victim will recognize they are not alone and find their voice to seek support. We need to resolve these issues in the beginning—abuse breeds violence,” Perry said.
V-Day was born in 1997 as a grass roots, non-profit movement to end violence against women. Since its inception, it has raised over $175 million for women’s anti-violence groups.
It was inspired by The Vagina Monologues, the Obie Award-winning play by Eve Ensler that explores the global feminine experience, be it pleasurable or painful. It has been translated into 24 languages.