This month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#TDVAM). One of our guest bloggers this month is Sarah Ibarra-Pratt. She is a high school senior at Walter Johnson High school and began interning with JCADA just a few weeks ago!
This Valentine’s Day, my high school’s feminism club marched from the steps of the Supreme Court, down Independence Avenue to the bottom of the Capitol as part of the second annual One Billion Rising campaign. This campaign, begun last year by playwright and activist, Eve Ensler, was her reaction to witnessing the “single nightmare” of violence against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.1 What she saw shattered and changed her forever. One Billion Rising is meant to encourage women and girls to speak out “at the places where they need justice, where they need an end to violence.” The name “One Billion Rising” is taken from the statistic that approximately 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That is one billion women. On February 14, people around the world gathered to rise against this injustice. We rise not only against the atrocities taking place in the DRC, but also the everyday acts of violence against women that are pervasive throughout our culture.
One Billion Rising allows for region specific issues with violence, both partner and non-partner violence, to be addressed at a grassroots level by organizing many different events throughout the world. For the rally in front of the Supreme Court, a few of the goals and issues specifically addressed were justice in the courts for military sexual assault, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, passage of the International Violence Against Women Act; sexual assault and violence on campus; internet bullying; sexual shaming; street harassment; as well as the judicial blind-eye given to cases of rape, incest, domestic violence and stalking. According to the event page, “Whatever you rise for or against, let’s band together to make the movement strong!”
I rise for an end to domestic abuse of any kind. In understanding how this campaign ties into domestic abuse and JCADA’s mission specifically, only a quick glance at a few statistics reveals the grave situation of partner violence in the US and around the world. In a recent analysis, “35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.” The study emphasizes that most of this violence is comprised of intimate partner violence.2 Almost one third of all women around the world, who have been in a relationship, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.3 In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims.