Disturbing video released after alleged gang rape
This phone vision appears to show a number of young American men joking about the alleged gang rape of a young girl in Ohio. The people in this vision have not been implicated with involvement in the alleged assault.PT1M49S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2crdq 620 349 January 15, 2013
There seems to be two types of risings on the planet right now. One is a sexual violence typhoon that is affecting most countries in the world. It has been happening forever but, like climate change, it's suddenly impossible to ignore.
I first noticed more ominous waves during the US elections, the extreme and ignorant anti-women policies perpetrated by the Republican Party. Then, like climate storms, floods and fires, specific extreme manifestations began to get attention. A group of boys allegedly raping a girl in Steubenville, Ohio; a 14-year-old girl shot in the head for insisting girls have the right to learn in Pakistan; the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in Delhi; and in Britain the revelations that the deceased TV presenter Jimmy Savile was able to abuse hundreds of girls over six decades, while British institutions from the BBC to Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, in south-east England, turned a blind eye.
Time for action ... Indian activists hold placards during a protest against the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi. Photo: AFP
And, like the response to climate change, first there was an attempt at denial, then there is the blaming of the victim: a woman raped in Dubai fined after telling police she had been drinking; a priest in Italy telling women they are beaten because they wear tight clothes and don't clean the house well; women in the US military raped by their comrades who then use that as proof that they never belonged there in the first place; raped girls in Rochdale, north England, being ignored by police and social workers because they were seen as damaged goods who were ''making their own choices''. It goes on and on.
Like climate change, only the patriarchs with power seem to be blind to the magnitude of the horrors. As a matter of fact they are engineering it.
There is a rape culture - a mindset that seems to have infected every aspect of our lives: the raping of the earth through ecological destruction by the corporate powerful, pillaging resources for their own coffers with no concern for the earth, or the indigenous peoples, or the notion of reciprocity; the rape of the poor through exploitation, land grabs, neglect; the rape of women's bodies through physical violence and commodification, where a girl can be purchased for less than the cost of a mobile phone.
'Groomed a nation' ... Jimmy Savile. Photo: Getty Images
The modelling and licensing of this rape culture is done by those protected by power and privilege - presidents, celebrities, sports stars, police officers, television executives, priests - with impunity.
But there is another rising. In the last year I have travelled the world for One Billion Rising, the global campaign that is a call for the 1 billion women who have been beaten or raped and the men who love them to strike, rise and dance on February 14 to end violence against women and girls.
This movement is moving through the planet with a force and urgency unlike anything we have experienced - it is what the Indian activist Kamla Bhasin calls a ''feminist tsunami''. Across 182 countries entire communities are planning to rise and voice outrage. Nurses, teachers, domestic workers, indigenous leaders, fisherwomen, peasants, scholars, union organisers, all have come together.
Coalitions are being forged, with a new openness between issues, classes, tribes, races, artists, activists young and old. From Anna Cruz prosecuting 700 murders of women a year in Guatemala to Fartun, who opened the first shelter for women in Somalia, bravely organising for women to take to the streets of Mogadishu. Farmworker women - calling themselves Vaginas Campesinas - will be dancing in their fields for less violent conditions. Entire networks are being activated - Gabriela in the Philippines, Unite in Britain, the AFL-CIO union in the US, and more than 14,000 other groups around the world.
Feminists and activists across the world have been tirelessly working for this moment for decades. If you don't believe the door is opening, look to India, where sexual violence has now become the central issue. Look to the winning of the US elections by women who said no to the anti-women extremists. Look to Britain, where a real debate is beginning about institutional violence against women- Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, spoke for many when he said the report into abuse by Jimmy Savile ''must be seen as a watershed moment''. Look to loving men such as Kaizaad Katwal, Jason Day, Robert Redford, the Dalai Lama and millions of others who are rising with us. Look to City of Joy in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, where women who, in spite of the violent escalations of the M23 militias, continue to heal and study and become powerful in order to save their sisters.
So I am opting for Rising #2. We don't have any idea what's going to happen when 1 billion women and the men who love them protest on the same day. We do know that the preparation for it over these past months has already announced, united and catalysed a movement that, like the violence, can and will no longer be denied.
February 14. Rise in the streets, in the schools, on the buses, in your homes, in the dark alleyways, in the offices and factories and fishing boats and fields. Let our rising reveal our understanding that, until women are equal, safe and free, no society can prosper.
Guardian News & Media
Eve Ensler is a playwright and activist.