Richson: One more rising


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Today, a majority of campus will either celebrate or actively avoid Valentine’s Day, a holiday that has evolved into the epitome of commercialized love. Others, however, will partake in a different event that condemns a harsh reality that defies the basis of relationships the holiday revolves around. That one in three women are victims of rape or physical assault is unforgivable.

At 5 p.m. today, students and Iowa City residents alike are welcome to convene at the Old Capitol Town Center to take part in a worldwide campaign known as “One Billion Rising.”

The gathering will project a flash mob-esque quality and include brief guest speakers as a celebration of what informed participants refer to as “V-Day,” a play on the violence the event condemns and the hallmark holiday the event falls on.

It is hard to imagine that in a progressive society such as that in the United States, women are still subject to widespread abuse, but perhaps progressiveness is the very issue; American society fails at constructing a concrete definition of abuse because there is a large disparity between women’s rights in the United States versus in less-developed countries.

“It would be too easy to excuse it as a problem that only happens somewhere else,” University of Iowa Women’s Resource and Action Center Director Linda Kroon said. But it also happens here, and far too often.  

A recent reduction of nearly a quarter of state and federal funding hit the Domestic Violence Intervention Program. This program serves the Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls areas as the only domestic-violence shelter in a 13-county span.

“It’s [the campaign] designed to be an active participation on the part of everyone who comes,” said Kroon.  

The group mentality is thus key to the aims of One Billion Rising, not only in terms of raising awareness as a means for organizations such as the Domestic Violence Intervention Program to secure adequate funding but also as a support system for the victims of domestic violence themselves.

So, instead of heading out to celebrate the love you already have, go out and fight for pure love with One Billion Rising.

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