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Feb 5, 2014

February 14: One Billion Rising in 200 Countries To End Violence Against Women

What three words first come to mind when you think of February 14, Valentine's Day? You'd have plenty of company if you said "hearts, flowers, and chocolate." Heart-shaped cards and special gifts are a wonderful way to show our enthusiasm and appreciation for loving relationships.

Now, what if we also celebrated the day by finding ways to express loving support for a world of peace, focusing on "women, survivors, and justice"? What if we added to our observance of Valentine's Day our support for these much-needed efforts?

For example, playwright Eve Ensler and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw tell in a Democracy Now interview about One Billion Rising, a growing movement worldwide to stop violence against women and girls. On February 14, events are being organized in 200+ countries to focus on "justice for all survivors of gender violence and the impunity that protects perpetrators all over the world."

Here is a startling statistic: one in every three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. What's your reaction to this statement? Whether we feel disbelief, anger, or a range of other emotions, the fact remains: women and girls are widely subject to violence in many forms. It is also a fact that there are many efforts organized and being organized to stop it -- efforts that will be stronger if more people join in to help.

Anti-violence work focused on women and girls is sorely needed. The reasons why are spelled out in One Billion Rising, Lutheran Peace Fellowship Women's Peace Resources, and many other places. Such work will also be good for men, boys, families and communities, because promoting peace instead of violence will result in a better world for everyone.

The One Billion Rising video is one of several in LPF's new "Women's Video Gallery." LPF also put together an action guide for churches: "Stopping Violence Against Women and Girls." Please share with us what your congregation has found helpful in LPF's Women's Peace Resources. Let's boost one another's efforts to end violence, especially against women and girls.
 Lily Wu and Alan Forsberg