Webster Leiden Students, Faculty Dance in Solidarity with One Billion Rising

Webster Leiden One Billion Rising 2023

February 14, 2023 marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of the global One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women; it also marked the 10th anniversary of Webster Leiden students, faculty and staff dancing in the streets of The Hague to join in the campaign’s efforts.

Webster Flashmob for One Billion RisingOne Billion Rising refers to the United Nations assertion that 1 in 3 women worldwide (roughly one billion of the world’s seven-billion-person population) will be sexually assaulted or beaten during their lifetime. The campaign brings together activists from across the globe every February to raise awareness and inspire progress in what it defines as “the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.”

Each year since Once Billion Rising’s beginning, students at Webster Leiden, with support from Academic Director Sheetal Shah, have spearheaded the effort to mobilize fellow students, faculty, staff and community members on behalf of the campaign. This year, it was psychology undergrad Brendalisa Karoki who lead the organization of a flash mob; one that filled the streets of The Hague with striking student-made artwork and boisterous dancing to the sounds of Tena Clark’s “Break the Chain.”

Dance is always a part of the “rising” because, as play write, poet and One Billion Rising founder, Eve Ensler said, “Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious, and it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, at any time, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free.”

Karoki and Shah were joined by Webster Campus Director Jean Paul Marissing, along with other students, faculty and staff. They also welcomed representatives from The Bridge 2Hope, a non-profit founded by Shah that seeks to spread awareness about and advocate on behalf of the 30,000-plus victims of human trafficking who are estimated to be in the Netherlands at present.

The day’s events also included an interactive workshop and discussion hosted by Webster that featured #MeToo coach and sexual assault survivor advocate Legien Warsosemito-Schenk, who spoke on several topics relating to sexuality, and shared two guidebooks she has written to equip those in close contact with victims of sexual violence with the tools to provide necessary support.

Moving forward, Karoki said one of the movements aims is “to make room for accountability as this, in turn, creates space for growth and change.”

She went on to say that the Webster community in particular seeks to continue its discussion around this important issue and to involve more men in the conversation, because, as anti-violence educator Jackson Katz said, “gender issues are not women’s issues.”



Related News