Despite the rainy weather on Valentine’s Day 2017, One Billion Rising, held at the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith, was a success. Moved inside to avoid the rain, women and men attended the event to support the 1 in every 3 women or girls who have been or will be a victim of physical violence.
Students and companies began setting up for the event early in the day. Students could be seen making signs showing support to all victims, which later decorated the Smith-Pendegraft Campus Center. Companies set up information tables for any attendees to find information or talk to someone. Purple silhouettes stood out to anyone on campus; each had a different name and story. Hot dogs, chips and drinks were available for any in attendance who were hungry, and white t-shirts were handed out for the tye-dye station.
When the event began, speakers showed support and shared their experiences.
One Billion Rising is a way to rise up and take action against violence against women. The statistic, “1 in 3,” was used over and over again throughout the speaking to emphasize that these circumstances are very real and very common. Many people want to cover up any violence against women, but each speaker made it clear, that it is nothing to cover up.
Allison Davis, from Donald W. Reynolds Crisis Intervention Center, mentioned the repetitiveness of the 1 in 3 statistic saying, “Let’s not forget that behind those statistics are people. These people have a name.” Allison continued her speech, continually personifying the statistics. Women and girls who are victims have a voice, and they deserve to be heard, not shamed because of what happened. Chancellor Beran spoke not only from an educator’s point of view but from a father’s point of view, also. He explains that many who are violent toward women and girls find power in the action,“It’s not about sex. It’s not about the act. It’s about the power that one takes over another.”
Many have a problem understanding violence toward women and girls. Why would there be a problem? Because people are not teaching that violence toward women and girls is not okay, which leads to many not knowing or caring that it exists. “This is a problem that should matter to all of us...there’s always something that we can do,” Allison explained. One Billion Rising exists not only to support, but to educate in hopes that education will lead to prevention. Chancellor Beran made it known that he supports One Billion Rising wholeheartedly saying, “It is an absolutely essential movement for our culture, for our society and for our country.”
Along with Chancellor Beran, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith students have shown their support to every victim. The Student Government Association made the resolution that the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith will Strike, Rise and Dance every year as part of the One Billion Rising Movement.