February 15, 2013

Locals gather to end violence against women

PLATTSBURGH — An enthusiastic crowd gathered in Trinity Park Thursday evening to add their voices to a worldwide mission.

One Billion Rising is the largest day of mass action to stop violence against women and girls with 203 countries participating, according to the movement’s website.

The effort began 15 years ago with V-Day, a day to express the desire to end violence against women. Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues,” founded the movement.

Donning hats, gloves and scarves, about 40 people gathered together with colorful signs and waved as cars beeped their horns as they drove by.

Another One Billion Rising event was held at Champlain Centre Thursday.

The concept of the event is based on a statistic: One in three women will be abused or raped in their lifetime, which amounts to 1 billion people living at any given moment who have been or will be abused, said Chris Whalen of Plattsburgh, who organized the event.

Mirroring the statistic, the goal of the event is for 1 billion people, both women and men, to gather to raise awareness of violence against women and demand a change.

Whalen wanted the Trinity Park event to be informal so she spread the word on Facebook and through word of mouth, she said.

“I care about the condition of the world,” Whalen said. “I’m just passionate about justice.”

Theresa Bennett of Plattsburgh co-organized the gathering with Whalen. Bennett and her family sponsor a girl in Kenya so she can attend school, Bennett said.

The girl’s father doesn’t think girls should receive an education, she said.

Bennett’s 4-year-old granddaughter recently asked her why people feel they can “throw girl children away” and not give them the same opportunities as boys.

“I want a better world for them,” she said.

“Violence against women is a man’s issue” because most violence against women is perpetrated by men, said George Wurster of Plattsburgh.

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