Rally (and Flash Mob) to End Violence Against Women


You could spend your lunch break on Valentine’s Day attempting to get last minute reservations for an overbooked restaurant or scrambling to purchase the last box of heart-shaped chocolates at CVS. Or, you can spend it rallying to end violence against women and be part of a 194-country-wide movement.

Does the latter sound appealing? Then join One Billion Rising.

On February 14, Eve Ensler’s V-DAY invites 1 billion people to dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women. (The event takes its name from the United Nations statistic that one of every three women on the planet, or 1 billion women, will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.)

In Chicago, One Billion Rising has teamed with Rape Victim Advocates to host a rally and flash mob at Daley Plaza at 12PM. Hundreds of Chicagoans are expected to participate in and attend the flash mob; in addition, several cast members of Chicago’s Broadway productions will perform in a separate public performance.

There’s still time to join the movement: dance lessons and rehearsals for the flash mob are being hosted Monday, February 11, and Tuesday, February 12, at Rape Victim Advocates’ offices (180 North Michigan Avenue, #600). Check out the powerful routine, Break the Chain.

But even if you miss out on rehearsals, you still have an opportunity to groove against abuse, after the rally: a free, all-ages Daytime Dance Party will take place at River East Art Center from 1-6PM, featuring dance workshops and performances.

“We are excited to be organizing a collaborative event involving hundreds of Chicagoans to join people across the planet in demanding an end to the status quo of domestic and sexual violence,” says Sharmili Majmudar, executive director, Rape Victim Advocates. “We refuse to accept this type of violence as a given, and see One Billion Rising as a way to get people involved in the work that organizations like Rape Victim Advocates do every day.”

Rape Victim Advocates is a Chicago non-profit that provides compassionate and informed services to survivors of sexual violence, works with communities to prevent sexual violence and advocates for institutional change. “The first step to changing attitudes is ensuring that people are empowered with accurate information about sexual and domestic violence,” Sharmili adds.

Dancing, a good cause, an excuse to leave work early – what could be better?

For the full list of One Billion Rising Chicago’s events, visit www.onebillionrising.org/chicago. See you at Daley Plaza!


About Cassandra A. Gaddo

Cassandra A. Gaddo is managing director of Step Up Women's Network in Chicago. A passionate advocate for gender equality and the advancement of women and girls, she is also a board member of Rape Victim Advocates, and a Young Professionals Ambassador for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She writes and speaks about local, national and international women's issues, including in her blog, "Twice As Well."