Print Version    Email to Friend
One Billion Rise Up against violence against women

 

HONG KONG (Mabuhay) : Around 500 people danced to end violence against women in Chater Road on February 10, as part of the worldwide One Billion Rising Up campaign which planned to have one billion women dance in solidarity on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

 

The local event was organised by Migrante, Bayan, the Filipino Migrant Workers Union, the United Pangasinan Hong Kong and Gabriela, holding it a few days early, as migrant workers would not be able to participate on the day itself.

 

The Philippine consul general to Hong Kong, Noel Servigon, supported the event, saying that it is a good initiative in sensitising people to the problems of the various forms of violence that are perpetrated against women in society.

 

The One Billion Rising Up campaign is a call to end violence against women. The organisers of the worldwide event are calling February 14, Valentine’s Day, V-Day, describing it as a challenge to women to see their collective strength in solidarity across borders.

 

It estimates that of the approximately seven billion people in the world, around half are women, and, since it is estimated that one in three women will suffer from some type of violence in the work place, the home, sexual or psychological abuse or rape in their lifetime, this equates to around one billion people.

 

Hence they are encouraging one billion women to come out and dance on the same day in a collective call to end the culture of rape and impunity that exists in many places for crimes against women.

They are also calling on the men who love them to turn out on this 15th anniversary of V-Day, “To walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence.”

 

A special dance has been developed for this year’s event, so that the one billion women across the world would dance the same dance. With simple steps and rhythm, it made for a meaningful and enjoyable afternoon, as participants tried to image what one billion people looks like.

“It looks like a revolution,” they were told.

 

Vicky Casia-Cabantac, the chairperson of Migrante in Hong Kong, told the gathering that as migrant workers, women are vulnerable to abuse, which is not confined to their own homes or those of their employers.

 

Abusive practices of the labour export market were highlighted during the afternoon. Speakers cited the Labour Export Programme of The Philippines as little more than debt-indentured slavery, as well as putting the spotlight on the systemic abuses perpetrated by labour brokering agencies that overcharge on contract services and other fees.

 

Daisy Mandap, from The Sun, has written about false contracts for work in countries outside Hong Kong, which have surfaced recently.

 

She told Mabuhay that agencies have cheated migrant workers for tens of thousands of dollars, encouraged them to quit their legitimate jobs, left them stranded in airports for up to one month, then unemployed and penniless in the
territory.

 

She questioned why, since Hong Kong has laws forbidding these practices, the government is reluctant to instigate an investigation into these agencies and why the police even hesitate to take statements from those who have been jilted.

 

A large banner erected above a makeshift stage in Chater Road carried the words, “Strike! Dance! Rise! Resist!”

 

First the men present were called upon to dance in solidarity, before those who participated in the afternoon lined up to fill the road from Ice House Street almost back to Des Voeux Road Central to dance a revolution and refuse to accept violence against women as a given in a time of a new way of being.

 

This year, V-Day marked its 15th anniversary, saying, “One billion will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers and our solidarity across borders.”

 

More from this section