Call to dance against violence to women

BORDERERS will be among millions dancing and clapping on Valentines Day in a world-wide bid to stop violence against women.

Locals are being urged to join activists for One Billion Rising on February 14, billed as the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

Scottish Borders Council’s Safer Communities and Violence Against Women Partnership, NHS Borders, Lothian and Borders Police, voluntary sector services and community volunteers have organised a main Borders event in Springwood Hall in the Border Union Showground at Kelso.

The free event is for women and men aged over 16 and aims to bring 1,000 people together in one place on one day for one hour. Participants will see footage of other global ‘rises’, hear about the scale of the problem and what they can do and take part in the filming of the One Billion Rising anthem, Break the Chain.

Everyone who attends will be encouraged to sing, dance and clap by FitBorders, in whatever way they are able, and footage of the Springwood Hall supporters will be broadcast around the world.

So far flash mobs are also expected to dance during the day in Peebles and Kelso and organisers hope videos of their demos will be shown on the big screen at the main evening event.

Organiser, violence against women and domestic abuse coordinator, Andrea Beavon said: “It’s really important and it’s an opportunity. There are a lot of people who sit back and say what can I do. Dancing and moving about is something everyone can do.

“FitBorders are fantastic at getting crowds motivated and it’s important for people to be able to do something, equally it helps survivors in the Borders know that people do care.”

One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With a world population of seven billion, that means more than one billion women and girls.

SBC’s executive member for community safety, Councillor Donald Moffat said: “This local event will contribute to the global ‘call to action’ and will give people the opportunity to feel they have had a voice and show their strength of feeling. One hundred and seventy countries out of the 196 countries existing in the world have signed up for One Billion Rising and Scottish Borders will be part of it.

“Borders communities are not immune from the devastating impact of violence and so I would encourage everyone to attend and bring along as many of their friends and family as possible to join the global One Billion Rising in Springwood Hall.”

Borderers will be joining activists, celebrities, writers and thinkers on the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls which raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of playwright and founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.

Ms Ensler said: “When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women. Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that this global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities, and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign. When we come together on February 14 to demand an end to violence against women and girls it will be a truly global voice that will rise up.”

The V-Day movement has raised more than $90million and The Vagina Monologues has been staged in the Borders with Borders’ services benefiting from the performances said Ms Beavon.

Anyone wishing to take part in the Borders event is asked to be at the hall by 6pm to allow notification to the global event of how many people attended before the hour’s rising starts at 6.30pm.