Campus and community members protest violence and sexual assault through dance
By SARAH E. WARD
Valentine’s Day paints a pretty picture of red roses and heart-shaped chocolate boxes on a day spent cuddled up with significant others. Some IU South Bend students and faculty wanted to spend this Feb. 14 sending a very different message.
A group of IUSB students, faculty, staff and members of the community joined a national movement that is taking a stand against violence and sexual assault on women. One Billion Rising is a movement that started 14 years ago and was the idea of Eve Ensler.
According to the website, “One Billion Rising is a promise that on Feb. 14, 2013, we will ensure that millions of women and men rise up around the world to say, ‘Enough. The violence ends now.’”
The United Nations states that 1 in 3 women and girls on earth will be abused or raped during their lifetime. That equals to more than one billion women and girls alive today. This statistic is one reason Jane Cera, assistant professor of art and education and coordinator of fine arts, wanted to get involved.
“It’s a horrible statistic that over one billion women are going to experience sexual assault in their lifetime. What a joyous way to kind of turn that on its head through dance. I think it speaks to the power of the arts too, not only to express everything we need to say in our society but to be a healing force too.”
The rise started at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Administrative building with cheering and the beating of drums. A long line of activists marched to the Grill beating and chanting and capturing the patrons’ attention. Music was playing, but the mob was waiting until exactly noon when the same dance would be performed all over the world at the same time.
As the clock struck twelve, the participants exploded into an uplifting and spirited dance that had the crowd cheering and clapping with a loud roaring as the flash mob ended. Many students participated to stand up for their own beliefs like IUSB junior Hailey Hennessy.
“I want to rise up for women and take a stand. I’m realizing how important it is to stand up for your beliefs and our rights and to let people know about it.”
Junior Jessica Stienbarger also had strong personal reasons for participating in the rising.
“I’m a women’s and gender studies major and I’m tired of women being oppressed, and I think every girl deserves the right to an education.”
V-Day activists came together in over 140 countries at different locations to demand an end to violence against women and girls. To see live video of the flash mob on the IUSB campus, go to www.iusbpreface.com/.
To watch videos of other flash mobs across the world visit www.onebillionrising.org.