One Billion Rising dance expands reach

One Billion Rising, the phenomenal global dance movement that calls for an end to violence against women (VAW)  has expanded its focus for February 14, 2014, according to its global director.
Monique Wilson, theater actress and a fellow Filipina now based in London, was in Iloilo City last Thursday, October 3 in order to share that the OBR in 2013 was very successful and had opened a lot of issues.
Staff from TNT Libre also joined in the OBR at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
“Last year, marami ang nag-rise to protest. In the Philippines, it was Gabriela who led the multi-sectoral campaign. Nabuksan ang mga issues like poverty, VAW and the environment, among others,” Wilson said.
Wilson explained that VAW is not just about physical or verbal harm inflicted on women, but also economic violence.
 “Thus, in 2014, we will widen our focus – justice. We have to address the issue on impunity,” she said.
 “So, on February 14, 2014, we will gather, march and dance the Bangon Bababe song outside of venues where we are denied justice like the courts. It’s a symbolic action, telling them na ‘kasama kayo sa problemang ito’. Perpetrators need to take action, too,” Wilson said.
“We have many build-up events. We will also take on justice issues,” she added.
She added that the dance steps for Bangon  Babae will be improved. “We have many creative members,” she said.
Wilson is a member of Gabriela and she uses theater art for activism.
Meanwhile, she said that males are also part of the VAW equation.
“Most of the time, the violence comes from them. So, we are urging men to join OBR because they are half of the equation,” she said.
She also appealed to parents to raise their boys well.
“Paano ba natin pinapalaki ang ating mga boys? There are boys whose actions and words are discriminating against women. But there are some men who are good examples of respect and honoring,” she said.
Wilson was in Iloilo to visit Brgy. Lanit in Jaro whose residents have become close to her heart.
“Last year, I was brought to Lanit to see the poverty of women there. Nakilala ko na sila and malapit na ang puso ko sa kanila. They express that they want dignity,” Wilson said.
She added that the residents, especially the women are asking for alternative livelihood in the area,  a road, electricity and potable water.
Wilson also attended the launching of an alliance called the Babaye Kontra sa Korupsyon kag Anomaliya.
This aims to join women from all sectors to join and work together to end corruption.

“In Iloilo and in the region, we will have activities this October, as we have set it as the month of women protest,” said Gabriela-Panay coordinator Lucy Francisco.* By Kathy M. Villalon/ TNT Libre, Oct. 7, 2013

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