HUNDREDS EXPECTED IN HEROES SQUARE ON VALENTINE’S DAY FOR RALLY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
Hundreds of Barbadians are expected to show their love on Valentine’s Day by gathering in Heroes Square from 11:30 a.m. for One Billion Rising (OBR) Barbados, an event calling for an end to violence and sexual violation of women and girls.
The event, one of hundreds taking place around the world as part of a global movement to end the assault of women, will include speeches by representatives of leading NGOs including the SAVE Foundation, National Organisation of Women and UN Women. Performers include spoken word artiste, Adrian Greene; and singers, Rhesa Garnes, Marisa Lindsay, and Mandy Cummins.
A major feature of OBR Barbados is participation in a group dance to the One Billion Rising anthem, Break the Chain. Barbadians in Heroes Square will be led by dancers from the Louise Woodvine Dance Academy, Genesis, Dance Strides Barbados, and the Barbados Dance Theatre.
“We are calling Barbadians, men and women, schools, church and community groups to stop what they normally do and gather at 11:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day in Heroes Square to dance together in solidarity against violence. We are calling them to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends in Barbados,” explained Pia James, OBR Barbados Planning Committee member.
James added that the OBR Barbados event would be unprecedented. “All women’s groups in Barbados including the SAVE Foundation, National Organisation of Women, YWCA, Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados, and UN Women are coming together for the very first time as a force to be reckoned with.”
According to a study conducted by the World Bank in 2007, violence against women seems to be endemic in Caribbean countries. This study also reported that while the worldwide average for rapes was 15 per 100,000, Caribbean countries exceeded this average.
One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.
The OBR Barbados Planning Committee says these statistics for both the region and the world are unacceptable. “Women have made tremendous gains over past decades and centuries. However, these achievements are overshadowed by the statistics of violence against women. It is for this reason we are joining the global One Billion Rising movement and advocating for change,” James noted.
She also extended thanks to the organisations and corporate entities which had donated time and resources to OBR Barbados including: Advantage Caribbean Institute Ltd., Bajan Fusion, Barbados Faces, Chase Midway Clothing, Clearly Content Communications Inc., Grafixx 2 Inc. and Wow Photo Booth.