Students take a stand against violence on Valentine's Day

Brady Gross/ Sun Star Reporter
February 19,2013

While most spent Valentines Day in some sort of celebratory state with their better halves, a coordinated collective spent a few hours spreading the word about violence against women through dance and performance in the Wood Center. From UAF to New Zealand, street performances, dance ensembles and musical gatherings were held in support of the cause and live video-streamed throughout the day.

UAF Sociology 100x T01 students and the UAF Women’s Center hosted their contribution to “V-Day” in the Wood Center near the ASUAF offices. V-day began in 1998 and was inspired by playwright and activist Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues. UAF’s event was coordinated by Sociology Professor and Manager of the UAF Women’s Center, Kayt Sunwood.

“One Billion Rising,” aims to end violence against women and children. The slogan “One Billion Rising” rose from the staggering statistic concluded by a 2008 UN Secretary-General Office’s report that 1 in every 3 women have been abused in their lifetime and now with the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and children.

Over twenty individuals joined in to practice their dance before they performed it for the camera. The reason for dance, according to onebillionrising.org is, “Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction but we go there together.”  The event also included interpretative dancing from local Yupiit, incorporating local culture and native group support for the cause.

While V-Day has been advocating to stop violence against women for 15 years, Sunwood was excited to have UAF be apart of the first worldwide effort that One Billion Rising offered. 

Junior Political Science student Chanda File participated in the event and said that while most people recognize that violence against women is a problem, they fail to realize the extent of it. “This is an amazing cause that I’m really proud to have been a part of,” File said. “Dancing in solidarity with people all across the world is an awe-inspiring feeling.”

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