Dubai: Valentine’s Day is known to be dedicated to spreading love and joy, but little do people know it is also a day in which women from around the world organise a “One Billion Rising” to raise awareness of violence against woman.
For the first time, Dubai was one of the cities taking part in the One Billion Rising, as around 200 women came together at Rixos the Palm to spread the word, dance and stand up against violence on Thursday. The campaign is held simultaneously in at least 200 other countries on the same day. The word “billion” refers to the one billion women who are survivors of abuse.
“Valentine’s Day was chosen specifically because the V in Valentine’s Day represents violence, therefore original founder of One Billion Rising, Eve Ensler, choose this day to call on all woman and girls to stand up for themselves and dance against rape, abuse and violence,” said Yonca Tokbas, journalist and organiser of the event.
Women from all over the world who are attending the event will be dancing to one song made specifically for the event called ‘Break the Chain’. “This song is basically our anthem because the lyrics talk about woman breaking the chain of violence and standing up for themselves,” said Tokbas.
Egyptian, Gada Arafa, decided to attend the event to support a cause that is close to her heart being a national from a country that was part of the Arab Spring. “It is very important to have events in this part of the world that raise awareness of violence against woman, especially because of the Arab Spring. Many women in Egypt who wanted to participate in the Egyptian revolution were assaulted during the protest which is why they were perceived in a negative light and even subjected to violence in order not to participate in the uprising.”
On the other hand Turkish national Dalya Ayan believes that violence against women is not just limited to one country or region but is a problem that women face all over the world. “I was born in a Middle Eastern Muslim country and I have lived in different parts of the world including western countries and believe me violence against women is not concentrated in one region it is a worldwide phenomenon.”
— Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News