One Billion Rising (OBR) will once again be taking place in Second Life on Sunday, February 14th, 2016, with the theme of Rise For Revolution.
When launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, One Billion Rising was the biggest mass action in human history; a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls who are at risk. OBR aims to bring people together, raise greater awareness of the plight of those at risk the world over, and bring about a fundamental change in how vulnerable and defenceless women and girls are treated.
OBR in 2016 builds on preceding years, and issues a call “to focus on marginalised women and to bring national and international focus to their issues; to bring in new artistic energy; to amplify Revolution as a call for system change to end violence against women and girls; to call on people to rise for others, and not just for ourselves.”
Activities in Second Life commence at 00:00 SLT on the morning of February 14th, and will continue through a full 24 hours across the four OBR regions of Listen, Rise, Create and Act. Around the central stage area located at the four adjoining corners of these regions, are art displays and information areas where people can learn about organisations around the world working to end violence against women.
A critique sometimes levelled at OBR / OBR in SL is that the issues it raises cannot be solved by dance. Well, that’s absolutely true, just as marching through the streets carrying placards and banners is unlikely to have a lasting impact on whatever it is people might be marching about.
BUT like marches and protests, dance and music does serve to draw attention to matters; it provides a means by which people are encouraged to stop and think for information and ideas disseminated.
More importantly, in countries where the right to march or protest freely does not exist, dance and music are both far less confrontational and antagonistic, and perhaps provide the only means of making a public statement. Isn’t that worth considering before critiquing the movement?