One Billion Rising is an event to raise awareness of the fact that one in three women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime.
Hundreds gathered in downtown Grass Valley Thursday in support of One Billion Rising, as women, men and children danced their way from Safeway on Neal Street to The Center for the Arts on West Main Street where musicians, dancers and speakers performed from around 6 to 8:45 p.m. with a dance party after the event until 10 p.m.
One Billion Rising is an event in conjunction with V-Day, an awareness event started in 1988 by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, who wrote “The Vagina Monologues.”
One Billion Rising includes 203 countries that signed up to host a dance party “in the largest day of mass action ever to stop violence against women and girls, to express their outrage and to strike, dance and rise to support an end to violence against women once and for all,” according to the One Billion Rising website.
The event was attended by various members of the community and beyond.
“I want to show my support for the coalition and groups that are making people aware of the sexual violence against women, and I think that we, as a community and society, have to continue to work to eradicate that and make other people aware that these kinds of things go on,” said Howard Levine, Grass Valley city councilman.
Some attendees felt strongly about the cause after someone they knew experienced sexual abuse or violence.
“I’m here to support all women around the globe and raise consciousness,” said Ioana Sarbu from Santa Rosa.
“Basically I’m here to support all women and the knowledge that there are solutions and a way we can communicate and rise above and bring a conscious effort to the rest of the world. We wanted to do it with a friend of ours who was raped, and it means a lot to me that she’s supported and the ability to communicate with friends and family about it, so we’re here to support her and her relationship with her partner and open up that dialogue.”
The Center for the Arts donated its space for the event.
“We donated the space tonight for One Billion Rising because anything we can do to support the community and, in particular, support women and the effort to eradicate domestic violence and violence against women is so important, and we are just delighted that we can support that, and it’s so incredible to see the community out tonight,” said Julie Baker, executive director of The Center for the Arts.
Many local women’s empowerment groups and organizations participated in the event, including Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, See Jane Do, Grass Valley Jazzercise, Citizens For Choice, The Center For the Arts, Women Against the War on Women and Gather the Women.
“It’s a local expression of a global event,” said Gayle Guest-Brown, DVSAC executive director. “That’s what this event is about — to raise awareness and to say, ‘Not here, not to the people we love.’ In this way, we are attempting to shift our global consciousness on this issue.”
“Our community is such an active community already,” said Elisa Parker, co-founder and president of See Jane Do, a social change multimedia organization. “It just seems like the right thing for all of us to do — to rise up together. Abuse often remains hidden, we don’t often talk about it, and it happens right here in our community, and it’s for us to shine light on women in our community and for them to know we see you, support you, have your back, hopefully so they can feel safe. That’s really what it’s about.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.