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Stand – and dance! – to demand an end to violence against women

by Oxfam | February 14, 2013


Originally published on Oxfam's Southern Africa Blog

On February 14th, people around the world will be rising up together to protest, dance, march, and sing in a shared voice to demand an end to violence against women and girls.

One Billion Rising, an inspiring global movement, couldn’t come a moment too soon.

The assaults on women’s bodies that have filled global headlines recently have opened a lot of people’s eyes to the depth and breadth of what women and girls (and some men and boys) experience every day: violence – or threats of violence – in the streets, in their homes, schools, at their offices and on their way to gather firewood.

The statistics are horrifying:

  • One in three women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime
  • 60 million girls are sexually assaulted on their way to or from school
  • 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime.

These figures force us to consider the realities for women and girls who must fight every day for their most basic right to live without violence and fear of violence.



Time for action

We at Oxfam are excited about the energy and momentum of One Billion Rising, and many Oxfam staff are attending the events taking place on February 14th around the world.

At Oxfam, we envision a safe and a just world, where women and girls are able to gain power over every aspect of their lives and live free from violence. Many of Oxfam’s programs address violence against women and girls by advocating for legal change, addressing attitudes and beliefs of individuals and communities, and pushing for national reforms.

We will be advocating for a global action plan to end violence against women at this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Such a plan would focus on the implementation of existing agreements that the international community has made to end violence against women.

We also understand that addressing this complex issue requires a staff which understands the complexities of power, violence and gender, which is why we created a guide for Oxfam staffon ending violence against women.

A global shift

But we know that we are just one small part of a much bigger force for global change. It takes many people, of all genders, coming together and rising up to change laws, change beliefs and change a culture that permits violence in any form.

Our work to end violence goes hand in hand with the efforts of activists around the globe who raise their voices – on February 14th and every day – to change the devastating status quo and end this pandemic.