by Susan Simons
LA VETA — One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to the UNITE To End Violence Against Women Campaign, initiated by UN Secretary-General’s Office.
On February 14, women and men in 203 countries rose to use the healing power of dance to express solidarity with those women and to make the statement that such violence has to stop. As one woman put it, “ I am rising today to end violence against women and girls around the globe for all those who cannot rise with us.”
At 5 pm February 14 in La Veta, 50 people joined the rest of those across the globe who were dancing to support this incredible cause. As the dancers began dancing to the music of the song, “Breaking the Chain,” it was snowing lightly. By the time they ended the dance, their heads were covered in snow but their spirits were on fire.
The planning started in La Veta when Annie Monnier-Arnold received the link to One Billion Rising from her sister in France. She passed the word in the Ryus Avenue bakery, and she and Mary Bakiel took it from there. They made a flyer and organized three rehearsals where Jill Hake taught the moves of the dance. Neal Cocco gave permission to locate the event in the parking lot just south of Fuller Western real estate, and Babs and Brent Seawell handled the sound equipment and the music.
Worldwide, the movement was started by playwright Eve Ensler, who has been working for fifteen years to end violence against women. She has said that the way society now treats violence against women with such bandaids as shelters, medical treatment, and counseling, seems to assume that the violence is going to go on forever. “We have made a space for it instead of saying this has to end,” she has said.
The lyrics to the anthem, “Breaking the Chain,” were written by Tena Clark and the music by Clark and Tim Heintz. To hear the anthem and learn to do the dance, google YouTube Breaking the Chain choreographed version. To see dancers from around the globe performing the dance or to read articles about the event from around the world, go to onebillionrising.org.
Adrienne Berkun of Ryus Bakery filmed the La Veta event, and it can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JQnSRB8d6I&feature=youtu.be. The video is also on the World Journal Facebook page.