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One Billion Rising again in downtown Duncan

An estimated crowd of about 100 people gathered at Duncan city square last Valentine’s Day to make a statement about Violence Against Women. - Andrew Leong/file
An estimated crowd of about 100 people gathered at Duncan city square last Valentine’s Day to make a statement about Violence Against Women.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Organizers from 2013’s first series of ending violence against women events under the Cowichan Rising label are feeding off last year’s energy and enthusiasm.

And they are using it to stage the second edition of One Billion Rising in Duncan city square at noon on Friday.

“It’s the second year, and it has sustained its value,” Cowichan Women Against Violence executive director Jane Sterk said.

Although the former B.C. Green Party leader wasn’t at Cowichan’s premier series, including the Cowichan Theatre’s production of the Vagina Monologues, and only just recently took charge at CWAV, she’s heard many great things.

“People came away from last year’s event very emotional and enthused,” she said. “I think that’s evident in the fact there are a number of organizations, agencies and individuals joining together again this year.”

Last year’s city square shindig saw about 100 participants congregate at city square on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Organizers of the global movement One Billion Rising asked this year Canadians ‘Strike! Dance! Rise!’ instead on International Women’s Day rather than V-Day to avoid overshadowing the Stolen Sisters March which has been traditionally recognized on Feb. 14 for the past 23 years.

One Billion Rising is a call to action based on staggering statistics that one in three women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls violated — one billion daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, lovers and friends.

It was created by part thanks to feminist hero, Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler.

Last year, citizens from all walks in the community came together in Duncan’s city square to rise and take part in a flash mob dance based on the Break the Chain campaign song in an energy-infused celebration.

“People came away from this event wanting to do more on an individual and community level to end violence against women and young girls,” program supervisor of Somenos Transition House Tina Schoen said.

“I think it’s exciting because it’s really a coming together of a number of different organizations in a shared responsibility for the event,” added Sterk. “One Billion Rising is approaching issues of violence against women with a sense of power and excitement and with women taking their place in society through means of dance and song and eloquence.”

Sterk is excited to take part in Cowichan’s event for the first time.

“I think it will be fun, the dance, and being able to be a part of the singing and celebration of women,” she said.

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