SU dances to end violence vs. women
Posted: February 16, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — More than 100 Shenandoah University professors, staff members and students danced to make a difference Friday.
At 1:30 p.m., a flash mob broke out in SU’s Brandt Student Center — and although the rhythm was a bit off, everyone was still on the same page: stop violence against women.
The flash dance was part of One Billion Rising — a global campaign to put an end to violence against women and to gender inequality. The campaign is named for the fact that one in three women, or about 1 billion, will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.
On Friday, women and men in more than 200 countries participated in a collective dance to show their solidarity in solving the problem.
“It’s one issue people feel so shameful to talk about,” said Amy Sarch, director of the Women’s Studies program at SU. “The more women don’t share their stories, the more you give the perpetrator power.”
Playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote “The Vagina Monologues,” founded the event. She said the December fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in India and an October Taliban shooting of a young girl in Pakistan spurred the movement.
The SU event was sponsored by the Women’s Studies program and LIBERATE, the first women’s organization at the school.
Student Elizabeth Britton, 21, — one of the founders of LIBERATE — was raped when she was in high school, but did not report it.
“The only way I know how to deal with the anger and hurt is with events like this,” she said. “To dance.”
President Tracy Fitzsimmons was also among the dancers.
“To me it didn’t feel like a dance,” she said. “It was a form of local protest against violence against women.”
Miles Davis, the dean of the business school, felt it was important for men to be a part of the flash dance because most perpetrators are usually male, he said.
He also dismissed the idea that violence against women was too large an issue for one person to do something about.
“Revolutions have to start somewhere,” Davis said, “and they start with people getting active.”
— Contact Rebecca Layne at email@example.com