One Billion Rising raises awareness and empowerment

Jeanette Teller and Megan Newman, ‘Doah Contributing Writer and Editor-In-Chief
February 12, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of Amy Sarch

‘Doah photo courtesy of Amy Sarch

On Monday Feb. 10, S.U. students, faculty and staff assembled together in the Brandt Student Center to perform a flash dance mob to “Break the Chain” originally by Tena Clark. This congregation was to raise awareness through the One Billion Rising Campaign.  Onebillionrising.org describes the campaign as “…a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to. It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories.”

One in every three women in the world will at some point in their lives be sexually abused in some manner.  That is one billion women and girls in this world.  According to Aysha Malik, coordinator of this momentous dance on Shenandoah’s campus, “One billion in the world is one billion too many.”  The dance mob was to bring awareness to S.U.’s campus and students, to show the community that S.U. does not take violence to women lightly, and to make people stop and look.  Malik’s expectation for this event was to “…bring attention to the cause, because violence need to stop.”

The atmosphere in the corridor of the student center was one of empowerment and strength.  Those who were familiar with the “Break the Chain” dance gathered together in their vibrant red “#RISE” t-shirts and danced with intense passion. This year participants danced to a special version of “Break the Chain” sung by students Hannah Glass, Aysha Malik, Kaedy Fischer, Julia Buhagiar, Nora Hayman, Krystie Ocasio, Aggie Froelich and Alumna Rhianna Nissen and recorded by MPRT majors Alex Slohm and David Angell.

President of Shenandoah University, Tracy Fitzsimmons was among those dancing in the mob, showing her support along with her children.  Many other faculty and staff took the time to learn the dance and create another lasting impression for the year to come concerning the issue of violence against women in the world.

The international campaign in protest of violence and sexual abuse against women is only in its second year and already has events planned in over 207 countries. The fashmob held in the student center was just one of over 2,000 One Billion and Rising events to be held around the world by Feb. 14. The S.U. event was collaborated by S.U.’s LIBERATE and the [Not Just] Women’s Center on campus.  If you would like more information about upcoming events or would like to become involved with these organizations, please contact Dr. Amy Sarch at asarch@su.edu on campus.

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