Rising for women in a worldwide revolution

Dave Mathieson
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Committee members are gearing up for the One Billion Rising event, which begins at Amherst Town Hall on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Showing their solidarity for the one billion are committee members: (from left) Christina Cameron, Judy Giroux, Ruth Currie, Joanne Pauley and Teri Lynn LeBlanc. 

AMHERST - Women and those who love them will rise up throughout the world on Thursday demanding an end to violence against women.

"Because it is an international problem Amherst has decided to stand up and say that what is happening with women globally is not OK," said Judi Giroux, a One Billion Rising committee member in Amherst.

It is the 15th anniversary of the One Billion Rising event, but the first year Amherst has participated.

People are encouraged to participate in the event at Amherst Town Hall beginning at 12:15 p.m.

Activities include a reading of "The Man Prayer" by 15 men from throughout the community, and a dance, which will be led by the YMCA's Laura Coleman.

Recent statistics show that one in three women on the planet, or about one billion women, will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Another Amherst committee member, Ruth Currie, say's "there's strength and power in solidarity," and said more and more people throughout the world are rising up against violence directed towards women.

"There's more voices being heard," said Currie. "The woman who was recently gang-raped on the bus in India, there was a huge uprising when that happened."

The event also protests violence against girls.

"Girls are often the victims of violence, especially in countries where rape is seen as a means of warfare," said Currie.

Both Currie and Giroux are also committee members at Autumn House in Amherst, which is a transition house for women who are victims of violence.

They say they see more women using services provided at Autumn House but can't say for sure if the increase is because of an increase in violence against women, or because women are quicker to leave a violent situation than they used to be.

"Awareness is being created and more people are talking," said Currie. "We're extremely busy here (at Autumn House), so we know from that it's still a problem."

Giroux agrees.

She is the chairwoman of the Nova Scotia Silent Witness program for the Cumberland Chapter.

"Since last Monday, through the Silent Witness program, I've had two more women in this community tell me about violence that they've had against them. Women are talking more."

Currie said they hope this is the beginning of an annual event.

"This is just the beginning," she said. "We really want to encourage anybody of any age to come out because this is everybody's issue."

She hopes the dancing doesn't scare anybody off.

"Laura is going to lead us in something that everybody can be a part of," said Currie. "But people are more than welcome to come out and watch."

The Amherst event is posted on the One Billion Rising website at: www.onebillionrising.org. If the technological pieces fall into place the Amherst event could be streamed live on the website.







Organizations: Autumn House, YMCA, Amherst committee

Geographic location: AMHERST, India

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