15 February 2014 10:14

While many will celebrate Valentines with red roses and a romantic dinner, visitors to the Mall of Cyprus this afternoon will be given the opportunity to show their opposition to violence against women by taking part in a global dance event.
Being held at 5.30pm, it is part of the global One Billion Rising effort which will see a billion people around the world using dance to protest against violence towards women and girls.
Cyprus' participation is being organised by the European Parliament Office in Cyprus, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, the University of Nicosia, Media Zone, the Cyprus Family Planning Association, and the Cyprus Centre for Intercultural Studies.
This year's event comes on the 16th anniversary of the formation of the V-Day movement which acts against violence towards women around the world.  Last year's events across the globe have been captured on film.
"One Billion Rising," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month and is now free to watch online, documents the global movement through the eyes of professional and amateur filmmakers in 207 countries.
V-Day founder Eve Ensler described it as both a celebration and call to action, as another anti-violence dance-in is planned for today.
"It's a document of the biggest mass action in the history of the world probably, but definitely to end violence against women," the playwright and activist said in an interview during Sundance.
"Seeing that global solidarity is possible; seeing it through the arts and through dancing; seeing the amazing creativity of all the costumes and the performances — it's just so inspiring to see what we can do when we join together as a world."
The film shows participants dancing in gymnasiums, classrooms, bedrooms, parking lots, theatres and public plazas. The breadth of countries and cultures involved is shown through newscast clips, landscapes, dance styles and diverse costumes.
Actress and activist (or "actrivess," as she likes to say) Rosario Dawson, who serves on the V-Day board, said the global scope of "One Billion Rising" is heartening — and warranted.
"One billion people standing up and rising around the world in such a huge action has never been seen before," she said. "It's beautiful to see so many people who have been victims themselves, who have been touched by violence in some way, now rising above it and extending their hand to other people."
Ensler said she hopes the film helps expand participation in this year's event, One Billion Rising for Justice. Events are planned in South Africa, Sudan, Syria, India, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru and across the United States and Europe.
Ending violence against women is an easy cause to support, Ensler said.
"If we are beating, raping, cutting, undermining, burning, selling women, we are destroying the basis of life itself," she said. "And if one in three women is beaten or raped, that's most of us. If it's not happening to you, you know it can happen to you."


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