Letter: Rise Up Against Sexual Violence

To the Editor:

On Feb. 14, we are all invited to participate in One Billion Rising, a worldwide event intended to strengthen the commitment to stopping sexual violence across the globe. With the alarming statistic that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, One Billion Rising rallies us to “walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to sexual violence.” For more information on local events, go to www.onebillionrising.org.

As the Upper Valley’s leading source for services and education related to domestic and sexual violence, WISE supports this inspiring event. Feeling safe and respected in each relationship is a fundamental human need, and as a caring community we owe it to each other to ensure that domestic and sexual violence does not exist. If we are willing to collectively create an environment in our workplaces, schools, campuses and neighborhoods where perpetrators of this violence are shut down and prevented from doing harm, we give strength and hope to every single woman and girl in our lives. To do so, we must show our determination not just one day, but every day.

Write a letter to your congressperson encouraging re-enactment of the Violence Against Women Act, volunteer for the 24-hour crisis line at WISE, hold a benefit event for an organization serving survivors, learn about bystander intervention and speak up when necessary. Through your voice, your time and your support, our community will truly “rise up” for the benefit of all of us.

Peggy O’Neil

Executive Director, WISE