Why I Supported One Billion Rising
Was forwarded the link to an article in the Huffington Post entitled:
Why I Won't Support One Billion Rising. After reading it I felt compelled to comment. The Huffington Post only allows 250 words so I had to shorten it a bit, but here is the unabridged version:
I am Congolese, a woman, an activist, an underfunded grassroots worker, and a One Billion Rising supporter and participant. This article is very disappointing on so many fronts, beginning with the opening line – “One Billion Rising is to ‘rise’ above forms of violence” – which with all the shallow words that follow completely mischaracterizes what the One Billion Rising event was all about. With any research at all you can quickly determine that it was about one billion women joining together and taking a stand with One Voice, from over 200 countries around the globe, to demand an end to violence against women. It was a global strike from the norm to visibly gather, make some noise and draw attention to the #1 issue for women across the world today.
Clearly you’ve never sat down with Eve Ensler to discuss your concerns, since you say: “what goes through her mind?” Yet you feel free to assume she’s got some great white savior complex, accusing her of “an inflated sense of ego” and mocking her intentions as if she’s got “world domination” in mind.
It seems to me that all you gained from your time with the Congolese and Iranian women was their righteous indignation, which was obviously not as righteous as it was damning. You took your characterizations of Eve Ensler and One Billion Rising from women on stage who are trying to create a platform for themselves, who therefore need you to mindlessly follow their lead and drink their kool-aid.
You state: “I don't see why it can't be enough to do essential grassroots work.” You obviously missed the point about scheduling the event for February 14th – V-Day's 15th anniversary of doing grassroots work! 15 years of treating VICTIMS! Grassroots work is essential, but obviously it’s not enough. What are all of our grassroots efforts doing to end violence against women? You note yourself that violence against women is not in decline here in East Congo, but rising.
Don’t let those full of righteous indignation cloud your good sense. You’ve got it completely backwards when you say: “The focus for white, western feminists should be on gender equality at home, where there are enough problems for a lifetime of activism.” IT'S TIME TO GO GLOBAL with this issue, and that’s what pioneer Eve Ensler is attempting to do: To stop allowing it to just be a Congolese problem, an India problem, an Afghan problem. More than ever we are seeing we are all part of One World. This is a global issue that demands a Universal Platform. And we in the worst place in the world to be a woman or girl need your strength Natalie, your experience, your influence, to raise this issue to the top of the Global Agenda where it belongs. We need Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem, Abigail Disney, Robin Wright, Rebecca Solnit, and yes, Ben Affleck too!
How did you get so narrow in your thinking that you can’t see that violence against women is not just a women’s issue? Do we not want and need men standing with us? Or are you suggesting a war; women against men? This is not a war against man-kind; it’s a global campaign to end violence against women. It’s a campaign for Right-Mindedness. Is patriarchy an enemy? Absolutely. It’s an enemy of Right-Mindedness; of the global consciousness Eve Ensler is promoting; a mind that sees every one as equal, as essential, as One.