End violence against women: Rise for justice on Feb 14

Justice can take many forms. It can be an apology or reparations. It can be calling for an end to all forms of inequality, discrimination, misogyny and patriarchy.

Justice can take many forms. It can be an apology or reparations. It can be calling for an end to all forms of inequality, discrimination, misogyny and patriarchy.

ISTANBUL - Valentine’s Day will not just be a day for loved ones, it will also mark the second year that Turkey participates in the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign.

Part of the V-Day movement, One Billion Rising aims to end violence against women, rise for justice, and promote gender equality globally.

"The event remains rooted in stopping violence against women,” said Sema Urgun, Women's Assembly President of Besiktas Municipality City Council.

"Last year, one billion men and women rose to put an end to violence against women and young girls. Through dance, both women and men are coming together again to bring about more awareness."

One in three women are raped or beaten in their lifetime, according to United Nations (UN). In Turkey, 136 women were killed in episodes of domestic violence in the first nine of months of 2013; in total so far, 802 women have died over the past five years from domestic violence.

"We want justice. Justice can take many forms. It can be an apology or reparations. It can be prosecuting, or pushing to create change, or implementing policies and laws that ensure the protection of women's rights. It can be calling for an end to all forms of inequality, discrimination, misogyny and patriarchy. It can be rising for justice, be it personal, social, economic, cultural, environmental or political. It can be a revolutionary call to restore dignity and respect for all women."

Besiktas was the first municipality to host the V-Day event in Turkey.

"As we bring this global discussion to the forefront, we want to hear from you what justice looks like. Join thousands of activists from around the world; share your vision of justice."

"We want women to release their stories through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right," said Urgun.

The Besiktas Municipality has been offering free dance lessons to teach some basic dance steps, in order to join in the campaign.

Those who are interested can also follow the YouTube video on the One Billion Rising for Justice website, which gives a step-by-step tutorial of the dance.

The campaign was created by Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day and the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign, and the author of the stage show, The Vagina Monolgues.

V-Day was created on February 14, 1998 for women and their communities all over the world to “raise funds and awareness for local groups and organizations working to end violence against women and girls”.

In 2013, 28,000 women were exposed to violence in Turkey, according to official data, and more than 50,000 women have been protected from their husbands or partners with precautions such as restraining orders. These were mostly in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

As of May 2013, the number of women under police protection due to domestic violence surpassed 11,000.

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