You may not have a Valentine, but you can have one billion dance partners.
On V-Day’s 15th anniversary this Valentine’s Day, women and those who care about them are invited to take part in the protest.
However, there will be no picket signs or marching. Instead, Penn students and staff members will be dancing Thursday in sync with one billion men and women around the world to rise up in protest against the violence. The number one billion represents the one in three women who will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to the One Billion Rising campaign — an international movement to raise awareness about and take action against rape and violence toward women.
Students can dance at two different locations at 11:50 a.m. — in front of the Penn Women’s Center or on College Green.
To get any potential dancers ready, the Women’s Center has an instructional dance video on YouTube.
And everyone is invited.
Raya Musallam, a College senior and the head of Strategy and Operations for the Vagina Monologues, said that the great thing about this event is that it does not exclude anyone.
And that means that men will be dancing, too. “We think it’s very important to have male advocates when it comes to sexual assault and domestic violence,” said College junior Jeremy Pincus, who is the president of One in Four, Penn’s only all-male sexual violence prevention group that is also one of the hosts of the event.
“Oftentimes people think violence against women is a women’s issue [only], but that’s absolutely not the case,” he added.
In addition to One in Four, Musallam said that Psi Upsilon has been involved since last semester.
One Billion Rising was created by Eve Ensler, the founder of the V-Day movement, a global campaign against violence towards females that includes the Vagina Monologues. The event is also held in conjunction with the Vagina Monologues and this year the spotlight monologue will be entitled “One Billion Rising,” with10 percent of the proceeds from the show going directly to One Billion Rising.
Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention President Morgan Humphrey, a Wharton senior, said that ASAP and the other supporting groups also reached out to student dance groups to participate in the event. Onda Latina, Destination Hip Hop, African Rhythms and Strictly Funk have all pledged their support, according to Humphrey.
“I think it’s a really beautiful thing,” said Adrienne Edwards, the chair of the Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women and a College senior. “You’re dancing expressing yourself but also bringing attention to this really ugly statistic.”
The groups hosting the event hope that the dance will attract people’s attention and get them thinking about the serious underlying issues affecting women everywhere.
Humphrey added, “[By] doing it at Penn we acknowledge this is an issue that affects people at Penn, too.”
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