I frequently speak to community organizations about how most of us are really unaware of the prevalence of intimate partner violence. Think about it- this crime affects one in four women and one in six men…yet it continues.
Until each of us speaks out to expose, challenge, or educate we won’t change the social norms that perpetuate domestic violence. For too long we've looked to victim assistance agencies like DVRC as the solution to end the violence. Helping victims become survivors is essential, but it doesn't address the root cause. We must stop the violence from ever happening. Only then will we end domestic violence- and we need everyone’s help to change attitudes.
Luckily, I've been noticing a trend in that direction. On Valentine’s Day the National Museum of Dance hosted a One Billion Rising event. What’s One Billion Rising? It’s an international movement to raise awareness about the one billion girls and women on our planet who are raped or beaten in their lifetime. It’s a peaceful revolution using dance to create a movement to end this violence. And the Saratoga’s National Dance Museum did just that. The full day event culminated with a drum circle led by Chris Ballerno of the NYS Coalition against Sexual Assault. Men, women, girls and boys drummed and danced and joined together in their wish to end sexual violence. The energy in the room reverberated from the drums and hands and feet pulsating off the walls. As that inspirational day came to a close I found myself hoping that each person would keep that passion for peace burning brightly as their dance led them back out into the day-to-day world… because our ordinary lives are where we create change.
And just a few days later I found that the dance wasn't ending after all. So whether you missed One Billion Rising or you want to continue the momentum, there’s another opportunity on March 8. Look for more details tomorrow.