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Web letter by Carl Jylland-Halverson: Join One Billion Rising to protest abuse worldwide

One billion women and girls will be beaten, raped, abused (which includes emotional and verbal as well as physical or sexual abuse) or trafficked this year. The response is One Billion Rising, a revolution of dance and movement. It is a way to unite people from around the world, to unite in energy and to focus attention on this humanitarian crisis. On Feb. 14 women of all generations, ethnicities, identities and ability and the men who love them will gather at Parkview Field to dance. They will not be alone; there will be brothers cheering them on and dancing beside them.

Male Survivor Inc. reports that one in six men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime. The scenarios are similar to the abuse of women. The perpetrators are family members, friends, neighbors and strangers. They are bosses, clergy, coaches and officers. These men share some common issues with their sisters who were abused. They have internalized shame and often blame themselves. Healing starts with holding the abuser responsible for the violation. Brothers who are the one in six are called upon to dance and support their sisters.

This past summer I worked with ministries for human-trafficking survivors throughout Asia. So on Feb.14 when I dance, I will dance for the two girls I met in Nepal. They had been rescued from brothels, united with their mothers and were starting school. They were HIV-positive and they were 9 years old. I will dance for the women of The Well in Bangkok who struggle daily to free themselves of their addictions and bad relationships and learn new skills to support their families as they break the chains of human trafficking. I will dance for the women of the Widows House in Varanasi, India who work to learn vocational skills and build relationships so they can avoid being prostituted. But I will also dance for the one in six men in the United States who are abused, and I will certainly dance for the friends, colleagues and neighbors who are among us, who make up part of the one billion women who are rising.

Men who love their mothers and sisters are called to join us. Men who love their wives, partners, friends and daughters are called to put on their dance shoes. Men who want their sons to grow up to respect women are urged to model their caring for women by joining us at Parkview Field. Feb. 14 at noon is a time for brothers to step up and support their sisters. So if you can dance, join us. If you are like me and cannot dance, join me in dancing badly for a good cause. Or simply come to clap and cheer on Fort Wayne’s contribution to One Billion Rising.

CARL JYLLAND-HALVERSON

Fort Wayne

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