Today, women and men around the world are rising and dancing to end violence against women and girls. The National Organization for Women is a proud partner in the One Billion Rising actions organized by Vagina Monologues author and global activist Eve Ensler. NOW leaders and supporters are taking part in actions across the country, including in our nation’s capital.
We know too well that hostility toward women and girls is an injustice that knows no boundaries. This past year, a medical student on a New Delhi bus was viciously gang-raped by six men. She died of her injuries two weeks later. In the United States, a Notre Dame student committed suicide after facing harassment for reporting that a football player had sexually assaulted her. A young woman was raped in Steubenville, Ohio, where the community rallied not behind the victim but behind the accused football players. In Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who is an advocate for girls’ education, was shot by members of the Taliban on her bus ride home from school.
One in three women and girls will be abused or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s one billion worldwide. And yet, gender-based violence is virtually invisible, perhaps because it’s so common it is seen as inevitable. Too often, it is dismissed and overlooked. So today we gather together to demand an end to this crisis and the silence surrounding it. Here in the United States, we specifically call on the House of Representatives to immediately pass the inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that sailed through the Senate this week on a bipartisan vote of 78 to 22. To those politicians who would block this essential legislation, we have a simple message: women are watching, and women vote.
One Billion Rising is a revolution where everyone can dance — where we celebrate the power and resilience of women and girls, and our shared hope for a better future. We rise together on this day, and together we will end the scourge of violence against women and girls for all time.