A Call to Rise

By Eric McGriff, Contributing Blogger and member of Syracuse University’s A Men’s Issue

Today, Syracuse University will address the issue of gender-based violence on a global and domestic scale. On this 15th annual V-Day, the university will hold two events to help spread awareness and gather support to end this form of violence. There will be a community dialogue in the university’s chapel and a candlelight vigil in recognition of those who were victims and are survivors of violence against women. This day of events has been labeled “SU Rising”, a name that was inspired by Eve Ensler’s “One Billion Rising” campaign, which calls for others to rise up and demand an end to violence against women.

Recent events, such as the tragic gang rape in New Delhi, have brought attention to the pervasiveness of violence against women. We, as activists and advocates in violence prevention recognize it is regrettable that it took a tragedy such as this to shine a light on the issue of gender-based violence. It does, however, provide us with the opportunity to bring understanding and focus to the violence that occurs in our own backyards.

SU Rising is only one example of a community saying ‘we have had enough’. It is a stance against violence that should be taken by every community in every country. On this V-Day, knowing that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime*, I will ask all women to rise up and demand an end to this senseless violence. I will ask men to rise up too, not in front of or behind women, but alongside them to show our commitment and solidarity. This is a day that we all should rise, if you have not done so, already. Violence against women is not a private matter, but a public issue that needs to be addressed. Today is a day where we challenge privilege and the structures of inequality and oppression that aim to undermine our efforts. Today is the day that we start to create a change. Today, we refuse to stay silent. Today, we rise up, dance, and demand a change!

*2003 UNIFEM report entitled “Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women,” or 2008, the UNITE To End Violence Against Women Campaign, initiated by UN Secretary-General’s Office

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