A couple of weeks ago, an e-mail popped into my inbox from Saffia Widdershins of Primperfect about an event to take place in sl on 14th February in support of One Billion Rising.
The sl event co-ordinates with rl events taking place across the world to highlight V-Day.
Never heard of it? Neither had i – to my discredit – it really is something about which i should have known, yet somehow it’s eluded me up until now. The stark message of this event is a simple one:
ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2013, men and women in Second Life will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and people across the world to Walk, Dance, and Rise as a show of unity, individual strength, and the need for change.
One in three is a horrifying statistic and one that, i wouldn’t mind betting, about which a huge number of us are ignorant – and that is fundamentally why this event is so important. The sl event is not about raising money – although if you want to give your support in that way, there are ways to do so – far more importantly, it is about raising awareness of this travesty that, according to the figures, is taking place right under our very noses, in our own neighbourhoods and, whether we’re aware of it or not, to women within our own circles of friendship.
It’s often the case that we feel closer to people in sl, than in the real world and it’s also true that sl can empower us to do things that, in rl, we’d be too timid, reticent or out of our comfort zone to even consider. Activism, for many of us, is a almost a dirty word – a label that scares us and sends us scuttling back to the safety of our well-ordered and comfortable lives. In sl, however, we have – if there is such a thing – a safe environment, where we can engage in activism, learn some home-truths that we really should be aware of, and perhaps use the knowledge we’ve gained to do something to combat this intolerable state of affairs.
The Second Life event will feature a four-region stage where 200 people can dance together, surrounded by an area of art installations and informational exhibits. A variety of performers will play over the 24-hour period, enabling people all over the world to attend this virtual event no matter their timezone. The regions will have a General maturity rating to allow all residents an opportunity to participate.
This February 14th, why not ditch your normal venue and go dancing at One Billion Rising instead? And, whilst your at it, take the opportunity to learn the shocking facts about V-day and what it’s all about. There are opportunities to assist with the event too and an sl group you can join to keep up-to-date with developments.
If, like me, you’ve ever questioned the validity of spending your time in a virtual world, then here is an opportunity to experience how the virtual world can educate us about the real world… and, in some small way, perhaps that could make a difference – even if only a small one – for the 1 billion women whose lives are affected by violence and abuse.
I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I’ve had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
Its time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break The Chain