Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I rarely have “someone special” to share the day with, but I honestly love having a day to just openly celebrate love in the world. But Valetine’s Day, love, romance, and relationships aren’t things everyone wants to celebrate. There are far too many people in this world who do not experience the kind of love they deserve, and end up in horribly unjust situations.

Specifically, I’m referring to the 1 in 3 women who will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That statistic, no matter how many times I read it, never ceases to make my blood run cold.

There are 3 billion women in the world, meaning 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. 

One billion women.

That is absurd and unacceptable and horrifying and it makes me angry and it makes me want to turn this world on its head and scream and one thing it does NOT make me want to do is dance.

And yet, Eve Ensler and the VDay Movement decided that dancing is something we should be doing. They started the One Billion Rising movement, encouraging one billion men and women to stand up on February 14, stand for love in the world, stand for justice. And not just stand- but dance.

When asked in an interview with Grazia, “why dance?” Eve Ensler responded with: “As women, we spend our lives worrying about where we’re going to walk, what we should wear and how we’re going to behave in order to be safe. When we dance we don’t have to think about that. We experience what life would be like if we were free, if we could wear what we wanted and do what we wanted, without fear of someone attacking, raping or gawking at us.”

I had the incredible blessing of participating in V Day and One Billion Rising with my community in Cape Town. My work placement, WOW Movement in Bellville South, coordinated a big event for a nearby park on 15 February. There was a market, a band, and dancing.

My role was to teach the choreography to everyone who would be dancing. In the last month, I’ve helped teach two different choreographies to over 130 girls in grades 6 and 7, nearly 40 women who are a part of a senior citizens fitness club, and many other women in our community of Bellville South. 

The event was a huge success! People from the neighborhood came to watch and listen, there was a poetry reading, the dance went well, and we were able to bring the issue of violence against women to the forefront of people’s minds in this month of love.

There aren’t words for me to describe to you what this experience was like, or what it means to me to have been a part of something so spectacular. Instead, check out the video of our dance here.

I pray we all continue to stand, rise, release, dance, demand justice, and fight for the rights of women in this world. 

(Read the interview at: http://www.graziadaily.co.uk/conversation/opinion/one-billion-rising–eve-ensler-speaks-to-grazia-about-the-radical-dance-protest-over-violence-agains)

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