Area women joined in a global campaign against violence Friday through a dance event at the State University College at Delhi.
The One Billion Rising For Justice event, subtitled “Rise, Release, and Dance,” is part of a campaign designed to call attention to and end violence against women. The figure of 1 billion refers to the statistic that one in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. The One Billion Rising campaign, initiated by playwright and activist Eve Ensler (author of “The Vagina Monologues”) and her organization V-Day, seeks to engage 1 billion women to counter that statistic.
Local activists, Delaware County’s Safe Against Violence and SUNY Delhi’s Peer Educator Group brought together supporters to dance to a five-minute song bringing awareness and encouragement to stop violence against women Friday on the college’s campus.
“Our peer educators work closely with the Safe Against Violence program here on campus,” peer educator Francesca Margo explained. “This opportunity is a great experience. Half a dozen peer educators rehearsed the five-minute dance a couple of times on campus last week, and other students and staff became interested in joining.”
“I found out about the demonstration through my Intro to Women’s Studies class,” student Kat Golluscio said, adding that her teacher offered extra credit for participation.
The group was a mix of students and community members, including men.
“Women are important. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our mothers,” Tim Sogbadjor noted.
“I participated last year,” said Mary Conklin, staff member at Delaware Opportunities in Hamden. “I wouldn’t miss it this year even though I didn’t have time to practice on campus.” Conklin and others were able to watch a video of the dance and practice at home.
The campus Health and Wellness Center provided dancers with bright pink T-shirts, printed with “One Billion and Rising For Justice.”
The group of about 50 bright dancers attracted attention in Farrell Hall and brought more awareness to the issue of women’s right. An audience formed and began clapping to the music.
The outreach solidified the possibility of strength in numbers.
Dancer Elizabeth Sova, director of O’Connor Community Engagement, said her son learned about the One Billion Rising campaign while visiting his parents, and brought the idea back home with him.
“He returned to California to get an AmeriCorps group to perform the dance also,” she said.
Safe Against Violence offers comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes in the area. They urge women to reach out for help, not only from physical abuse but also from mental or verbal abuse. Services include safe, confidential shelter for domestic violence victims and their families, short-term crisis and supportive counseling, and medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment. A 24/7 confidential hotline is available at 746-6278.