One Billion Rising campaigners used Valentine's Day to promote putting an end to gender-based violence, echoing the uprising in India.
Valentine’s Day this year marked the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a campaign to promote awareness and prevention of abuse against women. To mark the occasion, V-Day creator – playwright and feminist Eve Ensler, best known for writing The Vagina Monologues – devised One Billion Rising.
In the lead-up to the day, high profile supporters of the movement - including many artists - posted videos with personal messages appealing to the public to take part.
In her video, filmed in her London home, Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of famous sitar player Ravi Shankar and renowned musician and composer in her own right, admitted to being sexually abused as a child.
‘As a child I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly,’ she said. ‘Growing up, like most women I know, I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things I didn’t know how to deal with, didn’t know I could change. And as a women I find I’m frequently living in fear; afraid to walk alone at night; afraid to answer a man who asks for the time; afraid I’m going to be judged or treated in ways based on the way I choose to dress or the makeup I might choose to wear.’
Ms Shankar referred to the brutal attack on a Delhi bus late last year which led to public outcry and weeks of protests by thousands of people across India and other countries.
‘Enough is enough. I’m rising,’ said Ms Shankar, citing the rape victim and ‘women like her’ as reasons for her support. ‘So join me, let’s rise, let’s dance,’ she said.
Supporters of the movement were asked show their solidarity for the estimated one billion female abuse survivors worldwide ‘to walk out, dance, rise up, and demand an end to this violence.’
In memory of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student fatally gang-raped late last year, events were organised for 14 February around India, the day the campaign called for one billion people to ‘rise up’ around the world against gender-based violence. Other countries joined in, with marches in Afghanistan, human chains in Bangladesh and a debate in the British parliament.
Other high-powered supporters of the campaign include actors Charlize Theron, Rosario Dawson and Robert Redford, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.