Playwright Eve Ensler is in Zimbabwe together with Monique Wilson, the Director of V-Day. Ensler’s play, the Vagina Monologues has been produced in over 140 countries and in various languages. She attributes her desire to fighting sexual violence against women to the many women who lined up to talk to her after performing the Vagina Monologues who shared stories of how they have been abuse, raped or beaten. She expected these women to share with her their wonderful sexual experiences, pleasure, desire but the opposite was what she heard.
The idea of One Billion Rising came at a time when Ensler was recovering from cancer and when she visited the DRC where women danced at the opening official opening of a centre, “City of Joy’. “Women in Congo danced, while they were dancing and I was dancing, I suddenly had this idea. I had been obsessed with this notion that if one billion women and men rose one day and danced on the planet, what kind of vibrational, energetic transformation could we have.” According to UN figures, one in three women on the planet will be beaten or sexually assaulted and that works out at one billion women.
Zimbabwe has in the past two years celebrated One Billion Rising (OBR).
The campaign which uses dance as activism has become a global movement as many men and women across the globe rise on February 14.
Speaking at a press conference in Harare, she said, “Dancing allows us to be in our bodies, to reclaim our bodies. It allows us to be free in public space and to connect with one another. It really allows the vibrational and spiritual energy of the planet to be released rather than contained. So much happens when we are traumatized, violated. All the energy gets stopped, it’s caught, it gets muted, and it gets destroyed.”
Monique Wilson added, “In Philippines, when we began dancing, people began to wake up and take notice and gave us another lens to the very same issues we have been fighting for 30 years. Dance is an important tool to awaken people and incite action.”
Speaking at the same conference, Nyasha Sengayi, the coordinator for One Billion Rising in Zimbabwe let people know about their next campaign, ‘Stop the Bus’ in collaboration with The Girl’s Legacy. A bus with a lawyer, police officer, a nurse, a counselor and women activists will be moving around communities in Bikita, Mutoko, Gokwe, Seke and Chitungwiza.
The campaign will be launched in August against a backdrop of the high number of unreported cases of sexual violence in Zimbabwe.