By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The One Billion Rising (OBR) movement was formally introduced to Guyana through the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness Organization (CADVA), yesterday, Sunday, September 28.
Founder of the movement, Eve Ensler, popularly known as ‘The Vagina Lady’ arrived in Guyana on Saturday evening as part of her Caribbean tour for two major events that kicked off last evening with a panel discussion at the Pegasus Hotel.
The discussion focused on the ‘State of Female Justice in Guyana’. Women from the grass root level were in the audience and shared personal stories of abuse they endured and even witnessed.
The panel featured a number of women representing Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which help women at the grass root level overcome the trauma and pain that abuse has caused them.
This evening [Monday, September 29] at the Theater Guild, there will be an artistic presentation and an intimate conversation with Ensler, who is also author of the vagina Monologues. This will conclude her tour in Guyana.
“We have an artistic presentation call ‘Let the women speak’, we’re taking that to a next level, we’re taking situations, stories that have happened in Guyana to transform through the arts”, according to the OBR’s Regional Coordinator, Dianne Madray.
She further noted, “We have invited her [Ensler] to join us to escalate this campaign and to bring the Caribbean to the forefront especially Guyana, we all know the issues that women are facing here and basically the talk has to stop and we have to create some better actions in terms of effecting the change that our women want to see.”
Madray plans to take this movement forward in a more intense way after the two major events conclude as she stressed the need for organizations to work together for the common goal which is to end violence against women.
Ensler said the OBR movement is not a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) but instead an ‘energy’ that is not owned by any one person but belongs to the community.
“It is an energy that the grass root women take and make it work for their communities because they know the injustices and the violence that is committed against women in their communities,” she stressed.
Eighteen years ago, Ensler wrote and performed a play, from her piece ‘the vagina monologue’ which grew and created a worldwide movement, making women aware of violence through the art form, example, poetry, dance, drama etc.
“That was 18 years ago and after that the movement exploded around the globe, it spread to 140 countries where the play was performed in 40 languages and through the efforts of local grass root activists it has raised US$125 million over the last 18 years which is going directly to the grass roots women who are working on the ground to have hotline to create shelters to create advocacy and discourse around the issues of ending violence against women and girls.”
She added that her movement is aimed at showing that there is “nothing more powerful than global solidarity as it makes all of us safer in our outspokenness, braver in what we feel willing to do. When we see women rise in Sudan and Somalia or young women rise in Tehran or domestic workers take to the streets of Hong Kong risking lives and jobs, it inspires all of us to go further when we know the eyes of the world are on us.”
Ensler’s movement has seen laws created, passed and enforced, leaders born, politicians held to the fire, major and invisible injustices were highlighted and proven undeniable.
“Our cries for each of our particular justices rose and merged in a sea of cries and demands, creating a new collage, a new collective vision and radical landscape of what a just world might look like for women and girls.”
She also spoke of the need for laws to be less complex since they are not accessed by the women who need them and added that lawmakers need to take this inconsideration since a lot of laws that are passed to protect women, fail them.