In an effort to end sexual violence and harassment, Caitlin Miller, biology freshman, took a stand through her Valentine’s Day awareness event under the slogan, “One Billion Rising.”
Established as a worldwide movement against rape, molestation and silence through the art of dance, “One Billion Rising,” made its way to Lantana Hall at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
“I want everyone to know we’re not just dancing,” Miller said. “This event is really serious.”
Miller, dressed in hot pink tights, blue jean shorts and a flower print top, was ready to dance, but the others in her dorm were apprehensive.
Miller, Lantana Hall Council president, expressed the event’s importance, particularly to her, because of the violence she has witnessed and experienced at the hands of men. She said it is important to educate other women in her all-female dorm about the signs of abuse and to inspire independence.
“We’re going to free their spirit,” Miller said. “Life’s too short.”
The campaign’s Valentine’s Day celebrations were experienced worldwide with street exhibitions, musical rallies and dance performances.
Event organizers and participants posted their experiences on the “One Billion Rising” Twitter page.
Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues” and creator of the V-Day activist movement, founded One Billion Rising 15 years ago to end violence against women. In 2003, the United Nations estimated that one in three women in the world, about 1 billion, will experience some form of violence at the hands of men in their lifetime.
“As economies collapse and the 99 percent struggles with less and less, as global warming increases, and fires, floods, drought abound, the violence against women and girls increases,” Ensler wrote last week in The Huffington Post. “They become targets. They become commodities, sold in many places for less than a cell phone.”
Some of the most common factors that give rise to violence against women, according to the U.N., are cultural, social, economic, individual and psychological. These common factors are reflected in the U.S. as well.
There were more than 18,000 sexual assault cases in 2011 in Texas, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety report.
“I’m all for protecting women’s rights,” Miller said.