ASHLAND, Ore.– Dozens of women gathered together in Ashland on Sunday as part of a global movement to end violence against women.
While the event typically happens on Valentine’s Day, this gathering was the first-ever for Ashland.
Known as One Billion Rising, the effort is a call to action to stop violence against women worldwide. The campaign is also associated with V-Day, a wider movement encompassing One Billion Rising, that was started by author, playwright and activist Eve Ensler
“Raise awareness about the problem and also dialogue about solutions and ways to prevent it,” said Karen Lovely, the keynote speaker at the event.
The campaign says one in three women across the world will either be beaten or raped in her lifetime. Lovely, a domestic violence program assistant with the Hillsboro Police Department, has worked with many victims in this situation.
“It’s about power and control and abuse is a choice,” said Lovely. “It’s important to remember that abuse is a choice that one individual makes to have control over another person.”
Lovely says movements like One Billion Rising are important because grassroots efforts can help push for legislation and new protections for victims of abuse. She says the impacts of domestic violence are wide-spread but it takes it’s the biggest toll on the victims, their future and their community.
“We start seeing this is not just a one-time incident or years-long but this is lifetime, generational and the impact on the community is huge. Absolutely huge,” said Lovely.
That’s why movements like this are a step towards something brighter. With a gathering over three hours, the group rehearsed a flash mob dance and shared stories and information about violence women across the world and in Oregon face.
Lovely says the movement also advocates for transgender and male victims of violence. The effort is expected to return again next year as part of the global campaign.