DC is Rising. Are You?

On November 11, 2011, Eve Ensler told the world that she was Over It.

She’s over rape. And rape culture. And gender-based violence. And passivity. And victim-blaming.

Aren’t we all? Or, at least, shouldn’t we be?

Politicizing the violence is an affront to all victims and survivors of sexual assault. It is condescending to their experience and a pardoning of the perpetrators.

Rapes and sexual assaults and sexual harassment happen every day to countless people of any and all gender identities. Races. Ages. Religions. Political affiliations. Abilities. Sexualities. Incomes. NO ONE deserves it. NO ONE asks for it. NO ONE should be denied justice.

Eve tells us that approximately one billion women on the planet have been violated. ONE BILLION.

I have heard my friends, acquaintances, and strangers tell stories of being harassed, violated, beaten, and raped. I have heard others question the victims’ clothing, relationship to the attacker, sexual history, location, state of mind, and whether they’ve ever told a lie.

This doesn’t have to be the world we live in. We are better than this. We are hard-wired for human interaction, for compassion, for community. As Sohaila Abdulali so rightly stated, “rape is not inevitable, like the weather.”

We can do something to change this. We can do something to prevent future stories like those that have come out of Texas, Penn State, Notre Dame, the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, Steubenville, Delhi. We can rise.

On Thursday, February 14, 2013, we are rising. One billion of us: women and men, young and old, victims, survivors, friends, family. There are One Billion Rising events taking place all over the world. (You can find one closest to you here. You can also start your own rising.)

Here in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) is proud to sponsor DC Rising. The rally will take place from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 14th, in Farragut Square. It will feature members of Congress, diverse musical entertainment, and advocates from the women’s community.

We invite you, your friends, and your families to join us. Tell us why you’re rising. We’ll be dancing to build a sense of community and resistance. We’ll be dancing to laugh, bring joy, and love ourselves. We’ll be dancing to demand an end to violence. Join us as we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Learn about gender-based violence. Find resources for those impacted—directly and indirectly—by the violence. Dance with us. Rise.

This post was written by NCWO’s Director of Programs and Policy, Dawn Aldrich. Do you want to tell us why you’re rising? Send a picture or tweet to @DCrising214 and use #ReasonToRise.

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