“We are ready. It is time to do something bigger, be bolder, more determined,” said Eve Ensler, the founder of the global movement, V-Day, which has strived to achieve justice for women the world over.
Marking 15 years of the inception of this organisation, on February 14, 2013, Ms. Ensler hopes her efforts would pay off in the form of the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign.
Thiruvananthapuram is Ms. Ensler’s first pit stop in the country. She is here to speak to other activists, discuss solutions, and prompt the women here to ‘Strike, dance and rise’. As part of the preparatory programmes before the main event in February, Ms. Ensler led an interactive discussion on Wednesday at the YWCA Hall. Earlier, she held a press conference where she expressed her wonder at how prominently the issue of women’s violence now figured in the country’s polity.
“I have not picked up a paper where sexual violence is not on the front page. There are masses taking to the streets organising protests, demanding better security and laws,” she said. Ms. Ensler believes that the current ‘feminist tsunami’ will be a catalyst for the entire world. She added that 179 countries had already signed up to embrace this movement.
An unusual facet of Ms. Ensler’s ideology is her understanding that women need to dance on February 14. She acknowledges the reservation to do so, especially in Kerala, but stresses that this activity permitted women to take up space and announce to the world that they were free and alive. She called this the most large-scale action ever done, with the campaign steered locally, but joined globally.
The term ‘One Billion Rising’, she said, was rooted in an estimate made by the U.N. that one in three women on the planet was beaten and raped in her lifetime. “There is a collective global refusal to tolerate desecration of our bodies and an inhibition to be where we want, when we want,” Ms. Ensler said, adding that she was thrilled to be in India, a nation she described as in the vanguard of the global movement.
She aired her views against capital punishment. “I don’t think that sort of punishment would serve in the long term and I believe that education and a sense of accountability could initiate a transformation in mindsets,” she said. Ms. Ensler stressed on the need for sex education, adding that even in the domestic realm, it could lead to a reduction in the number of incest cases.
On Thursday, another discussion has been scheduled at the Hassan Marikar Hall at 2 p.m. after which a rally will be held at 6 p.m. up to Gandhi Park. Cultural programmes will be organised at Gandhi Park, including a rendition of Ms. Ensler award-winning play, the Vagina Monologues.