• Through global street dance, women seek to fight abuses


    On February 14, thousands of Filipino women will dance in the streets to drum up their call for freedom from abuse and harassment.

    Dancing to the tune of “Bangon,” the Filipinas will join women in 206 countries in pushing the One Billion Rising for Justice campaign.

    Theater and film actress Monique Wilson, director of the One Billion Rising in the Philippines, said the Philippines will be the third country to be featured in the live streaming of the global event, after New Zealand and Australia.

    Bangladesh, Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asian countries will follow, then Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the United States and Canada.

    In Manila, a morning protest rally in Mendiola will kick off the event that will be participated by militant Gabriela and Kilusang Mayo Uno.

    The women will march to the Quezon City Memorial Circle to join thousands more before proceeding to the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus in Quezon City.

    Similar activities will be held in major cities like Baguio, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, Naga and Legazpi.

    The migrant workers watchdog Migrante and civil society groups will join Wilson and Gabriela.

    “Last year, around 40,000 people joined us at Tomas Morato in Quezon City. We expect it to increase since we now have protest dances in various cities,” Wilson said. She will be in Hong Kong on Sunday to persuade Filipino women there to join the protest dance.

    Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela, said incidences of rape, maltreatment, and harassment of women and children are increasing. Police records showed that 4,234 children were victims of rape last year. One of 10 women is a rape victim.

    Wilson, who starred in the lead role in Miss Saigon, said the protest dance will put the focus on the fight of the poor and underprivileged women, including domestic workers, who are susceptible to abuse and harassment.

    Forty-percent of Filipino overseas workers are household help. Of the 5,000 Filipinos who leave the country daily to work abroad, 70 percent are women.

    The One Billion Rising for Justice is the biggest mass action in human history. The campaign began as a call to action based on the staggering United Nations statistics that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world’s population reaching seven billion, this means one billion women and girls.


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