Prison inmates join millions protesting violence against women

(Photo: Reuters / Stephen Lam)San Francisco Sheriff's Captain Kevin Paulson (R) stands in a huddle with a group of inmates after dancing together in opposition of violence against women in a One Billion Rising event at the San Francisco County Jail #5 on Valentine's Day in San Bruno, California Feb. 14, 2013.

The One Billion Rising global activist movement to end violence against women and girls had people dancing and marching in more than 200 countries starting on Valentine's Day.

Events have taken place with flash mobs erupting into dance in around the globe for the event started by U.S. playwright Eve Ensler taking place over 48 hours globally.

Some organizers said they would like to see more men taking part.

In New Delhi, India and Johannesburg, South Africa where horrific violence against women recently got global attention dance protests were held and live-streamed by the campaign.

Other flash mobs occurred in such places as Beirut (Lebanon), Bukavu, (Democratic Republic of Congo), Karachi (Pakistan), Banjul (Gambia), Belgrade (Serbia), Geneva (Switzerland), Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv (Israel).

In San Francisco prison inmates danced to oppose violence against women and alos in other U.S. locations such as Great Falls (MT), New York City, Los Angeles, and Hawaii.

The event was first held on Feb. 14, 2012 to mark St. Valentine's Day, and organizers say it is the largest day of mass action ever to stop violence against women and girls.

In Geneva, the World Communion of Reformed Churches organized a flash mob to dance in the cafeteria at the Ecumenical Centre, home to the World Council of Churches and non-governmental organizations.

Twenty dancers, wearing bright pink and purple, performed to the lyrics of Break the Chain written by Tena Clark and Tim Heintz. The song highlights the statistic that one billion of the world's three billion women and girls will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes.

The song ends with a call for people to rise up and stop the violence.

"The World Council of Churches has always condemned violence against women as a sin that can no longer be condoned," said Fulata Lusungu Moyo, WCC program executive for Women in Church and Society.

She said the dancing "highlights our work together against the dehumanization and commodification of women's bodies.

"Next time we hope that more brothers can also join," she added. "Let us break these chains of injustice together."

In Israel, Jean Golbert, a resident of Jerusalem and grandmother of nine, told she took part in the protest because the issue of violence against women is "burning inside" her.

"Men and women need to wake up," she said. "Violence against women is an international problem and one of the ways of fighting it is though cooperation among women."

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News