On the 12th of February, Raha will rise in support of the ‘1 Billion Rising’ movement. An initiative born from the 2012 U.N. Women statistic that 1 in 3 women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, it involves a collective protest to stop violence against women. Held every year on the 14th of February, the campaign has been hugely successful in over 200 countries and is now the biggest collective action to end violence against women in human history.
But 1 Billion Rising is more than just a protest. During their demonstrations, activists dance to the theme song of the movement: ‘Break the Chain’. The song unites people with its unique choreography as they demand change and an end to violence through their strength of numbers. The dance symbolizes defiance in the face of this existing injustice, and teaches young girls respect and control of their bodies.
Raha’s solidarity to the cause will be expressed in a flash mob on Thursday during morning break. This is Raha’s third year participating in the event and according to Ms. Rhea Lynn, the organizer, there are currently around 50 students practicing the dance. She explains that “the only way to change anything is through peaceful protest, where we all want the same thing”. Indeed, the movement has had repercussions around the world, causing new legislation to be passed countering violence against women. 1 Billion Rising has also, more importantly, provided a platform for survivors to come together, and regain control of their bodies and lives.
Apart from the flash mob at morning break, there will also be a special Theatrical Thursday at lunch, with performances revolving around the theme of female empowerment. Thursday will also be a dress down day, where students can donate 5 dirhams to this cause and wear red, white, black or pink clothes.
The mission of 1 Billion Rising is to change our world for the better. The Raha community aims toward this mission on a smaller scale, by raising as much energy and awareness as possible on the situation that many women and girls face around the world. In her interview, Ms. Rhea also emphasized the importance of boys joining this movement, “to grow into men who can hold each other accountable for these actions”. There are thousands of men involved in 1 Billion Rising around the world, similarly demanding an end to the violence and that their female compatriots be relieved of this injustice. This is a world issue, not a women’s one.
It is by informing one community at a time that change can begin to happen. This Thursday’s events are just a tiny piece in the mosaic towards a world where girls and women can leave home without thinking twice about they’re wearing, or worry about being harassed; but it is nonetheless an important step. We urge you to look beyond the free dress day, and see the issues surrounding us and what you can do about them.
Join in the flash mob and DANCE towards revolution!