One Billion Rising
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Saturday, March 2, 2013 15:03
Last December a woman, while on her way home from the movies with a male friend, was gang raped and savagely beaten on a moving bus in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Two weeks later, she died of a massive organ failure that was caused by the attack. This particular tragedy caused a massive outcry in India, bringing a great deal of attention to the already prevalent problem of violence against women there.
But despite taking place in this foreign country, I strongly believe that we, as Americans, can look at this incident and its public reaction and relate it to our own experience. In other words, this is something we as humans need to look at and study.
According to the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ), every two minutes someone in the U.S is sexually assaulted and that nine of every 10 rape victims are female. Rape is something that no one, regardless of gender, should have to go through but the fact that an overwhelming majority of victims are female is beyond disturbing. The DOJ also estimates that 54 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police and that a staggering 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
We, as society, might usually acknowledge that sexual assault is a real thing but we are clearly not doing enough to ensure justice and support for these victims.
Fortunately, many have spoken out against this particular injustice in society. One is noted feminist and “The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler, who created “V Day” in 1998. Celebrated on the same day as Valentine’s Day, V-Day’s main goal is not only to spread awareness, but to end violence against women once and for all.
In 2010, more than 5,400 V-Day events took place in over 500 locations in both the U.S and internationally. On February 14, Berkeley City College hosted their very own V-Day event. These events have raised over $8 million and funded over 12,000 community-based, anti-violence programs and safe houses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt, and Iraq.
V-Day is also sometimes referred to as “One Billion Rising,” which refers to the estimate of how many women in the world that have been sexually assaulted.
Despite my concerns, I honestly admit that I have no idea how to solve these problems but the work that V-Day and other organizations are doing is phenomenal. If one good thing is to come out of the New Delhi tragedy, it is the fact that it is getting international coverage.
Awareness is the foundation of solving the issues. And to me, the more awareness, the more fighting against the overwhelming issue that is violence against women.
Natasha Forsberg is a Tower staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.