10 Reasons to Move to the Music and End Violence Against Women

February 11, 2013

One Billion Rising
On February 14th, Amnesty will join with V-Day in the One Billion Rising campaign to dance in solidarity with the estimated one billion women and girls who have experienced violence in their lifetime.

Violence against women is one of the world’s most pervasive human rights abuses. It is also one of the most hidden. Globally, one woman in three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in her lifetime and yet, justice for these abuses is all too rare.

In the U.S., the Violence Against Women Act is a groundbreaking law that helps break the cycle of impunity for violence.  Currently up for reauthorization in Congress, you can add your voice to ask for immediate action.

But violence against women is a global issue, so here are the stories of ten real women all around the world to inspire you to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to violence.

1. Noxolo Nogwaza, South Africa
24 Years Old

In 2011, she was raped and murdered apparently because she was a lesbian but the government still hasn’t made progress in bringing her killer(s) to justice.

2. Cleiner Maria Almanza Blanco, Colombia
Human Rights Defender

In 2012, she was abducted, beaten, interrogated, and raped by a group of unidentified men. Shockingly, Cleiner had been raped previously both by members of the security forces and by Colombian paramilitaries.

3. Claudina Velasquez, Guatemala
19 Years Old

In 2005, Claudina was found dead with traces of semen on her body, yet no meaningful investigation was undertaken by the authorities. In Guatemala, when young girls are murdered, impunity is the norm, and the authorities have a disturbing tendency to blame the victim’s behavior or background for their death.

4. Barbara Italia Mendez, Mexico

In 2006, Barbara was one of 47 women who were detained and one of 26 women sexually assaulted during her arrest after a protest in San Salvador Atenco. Officials responsible for the sexual assault have not been prosecuted.

5. Ines Fernandez Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantu, Mexico
Indigenous Me’phaa Women

In 2002, Ines and Valentina were raped by Mexican soldiers. Despite reporting the attacks, authorities have undertaken no substantive investigation and no-one has been brought to justice.

6. Safia Ishaag, Sudan
Girifna “We’re Fed Up” Youth Group Activist

In 2011, Safia was arrested by the National Security Services. While arrested, she was raped and kicked to the point of unconsciousness. When she publicly recounted her experiences in a video, Sudanese authorities denied all allegations of torture and rape. They repeatedly harassed Safia and her family until she was forced to flee Sudan.

7. Alexandra Hidalgo, Venezuela

In 2004, Alexandra was kidnapped at gunpoint, driven to isolated spot, and was repeatedly raped and tortured by a group of men for approximately seven and a half hours. One of the perpetrators was her ex-husband, a former lieutenant-colonel in the army. His lawyers have postponed more than 15 hearings. The trial date has yet to be determined.

8. Norma Cruz, Guatemala
Human Rights Defender

Since 2008, Norma, the leader of Fundacion Sobrevivientes (Survivors’ Foundation), a women’s rights organization, has been repeatedly threatened with death, the murder of her children, and bombing of the organization for her work documenting cases of violence against women and fighting for justice.

9. The Organizacion Femenina Popular (Popular Women’s Organization), Colombia
Human Rights Defenders

Many of the members of the OFP have suffered attacks and harassment related to their work to promote women’s human rights for women who have experienced violence and sexual abuse.

10. “Stolen Sisters,” Canada
Community Movement 

The Stolen Sisters are a group of Indigenous families and supporters who raise awareness about violence facing Indigenous women. More than 600 Aboriginal women have been murdered and disappeared in the past 30 years; Indigenous women are at least three to five times more likely to die of violence than all other Canadian women.

Join us on February 14th in honor of these ten women – and the one billion women worldwide who experience violence. Let’s rise up as one billion bodies to change the current status quo and take action to end violence against women. Let’s show the world that we will not tolerate another day of inaction!

We are ready to move to the beat and shake things up. Join us wherever you are to show the world that the violence Must. Stop. Now.