NEWBURYPORT — It’s a sobering stat for girls and those who love them, but one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten at some point in their lives.
The other two-thirds will live in fear of this reality, having known friends or family members whose lives were diminished or snuffed out by violence. And for organizers of an upcoming Valentine’s Day Flash Mob in Market Square, coordinated as part of the One Billion Rising, worldwide anti-violence movement, that’s no way for half the human population to live.
“The whole thing in India really put me over the edge — the rape on the bus and how a rape victim a couple weeks before wasn’t helped by the police, and in fact they suggested she marry one of the rapists,” said Fontaine Dubus, owner of the Dance Place in the Tannery. “Over the years, learning about women who are constantly (under threat) — this is a daily thing for them in parts of the Third World. They can’t even get water without the risk of getting raped or attacked. When I saw the One Billion Rising movement, I thought, ‘I have to do something.’”
The One Billion Rising event, organized internationally by noted author and activist Eve Ensler, calls upon women from every corner of the globe to gather together at the same time and offer a response to the perpetual violence, humiliation and soul-splintering pain that rape brings.
But although they will congregate in corners of the globe where honor killings, genital mutilation, acid attacks and unpunished rape are still the norm, the plan is to rise up in a way that does not look back in anger, but instead looks to a joyful future in a way that women have been doing for centuries. The plan is to gather together and dance, to the same choreographed routine, at the same exact time, to the same music, and with the same hope that thousands, maybe millions of people of similar intent can send a message loud and clear that the violence must stop.