Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Launching ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign to end violence against women., Auditorium, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Auditorium, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Launching ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign to end violence against women.
Aurat Foundation, in collaboration with ROZAN, WLP, AMAL, WORD, We Can and RSPN organized the launching ceremony of ‘One Billion Rising - OBR’ campaign in Pakistan on the international Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012.  The ceremony was organized at the auditorium of Department of Earth Sciences, Quaid-e-Azam University.  The participants included university students, members of civil society  organizations, NGOs, academia and media.
'One Billion Rising (OBR)' is the collective voice of one billion women, men, children and trans-genders across the globe for ZERO tolerance to violence against women.  According to international statistics, 1 out of 3 women in the world will be rapped or beaten in her life time which comes to more than 1 billion women. In Pakistan approximately 70-90% Pakistani women are subjected to domestic violence each year.
It is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls started by Eve Ensler, a prominent activist who addresses issues of violence against women and girls. In 1998, her experience performing The Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day raises funds and awareness through annual benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues.
Speakers urged youth to speak up against any kind of violence around them. Nighat Rizvi from AMAL briefly introduced participants with the history of OBR and V-Day.  Dr Farzana Bari, Chairperson Department of Gender Studies, QAU, gave a detailed presentation on ‘situational analysis of Violence Against Women (VAW) in Pakistan (and why OBR in Pakistan?).  she said that creating awareness and personal commitment to refrain from inflicting violence on other especially on women is imperative but we should not forget that gender based violence is a structural issue and power imbalance between men and women is central to all forms of VAW.
Dr Ambreen Ahmed, from Rozan, gave an overview of OBR campaign activities. She told the audience that today peoples, both women and men in 177 countries of the world are raising their voice to end violence against women.  While elaborating about the OBR activities, she informed that the activities include signature campaign, arranging music programmes, theatres, poster competition etc.  She said that so far 3666 signatures have been signed to end violence against women.  
Renown poet Kishwar Naheed recited two of her famous poems – one ‘wo jo  bacheon sey bhi dar gaey…, written for Malala Yousufzai’ and the second ‘tum swami ram baney mery, tum majnoon qais baney merey, kabhi chhorr dia, kabhi …iss khel saraey sey niklo, tum merey jaisey insaan ho, merey dost bano’.
Babar Bashir, Managing Director, ROZAN, highlighted the importance of involving men in ending violence against women and in the ‘One Billion Rising campaign’.  He said that un-fortunately, most of the perpetrator of violence against women are men which highlights the importance of focusing men in this campaign.  He also said that violence against women is not only damaging for women but it also damages men’s personality and ultimately it affects the whole country and the whole world.
Aqsa Khan, Executive Director WORD, spoke on the sexual harassment laws in Pakistan.  She gave a full background of the sexual harassment at workplace law 2010 and the institutional procedures to deal cases of sexual harassment at workplace. She also stressed the need to raise awareness about the law in all government and non-government institutions and organizations.
Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Manager Legislative Watch Programme of Aurat Foundation, in her concluding remarks said that the event was just a beginning and the campaign has a long way to go and see much success. She urged the audience the when back at home, office or class, each one should further spread the message of ‘stand against violence against women’.  She also said that violence, in each form, and from anyone, whether men or even from women (which is hardly a case) must be condemned.
The OBR message of ‘rise against all kind of violence’ was loud and clear that ‘No More Violence against Women’. The event included interactive sessions where participants, mostly students, were introduced with aims and objectives of the campaign.  Awards were also distributed among the university students who won the poster competition.  The poster competition was organized among students from NUST University, Fatima Jinah University, Bahria University and Arid Agriculture University.
The event also included musical performance by renown young singer Arieb Azhar, and emerging young artists Yaruq and his band.