ON THE PRECIPICE OF OUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY, through another pandemic year that rocked the world and illuminated intractable systems of inequity, and despite conflicts and upheaval that ranged from Ukraine to Afghanistan to Ethiopia, V-Day and One Billion Rising activists once again shattered traditions and created spaces for grassroots dialogue, with art and activism always at the forefront. They rose for gender, climate, economic and racial justice and against a wave of war, right-wing nationalism, white supremacy, colorism, fascism, xenophobia, corporate greed and climate destruction, centering their voices and experiences of the most marginalized.
ONE BILLION RISING GLOBAL COORDINATORS and teams worldwide ushered in the 2022 #1BillionRising season with OVER 70 COUNTRIES rising via hundreds of creative resistance events on the ground and online making the connection between how we treat the bodies of women and how we treat the earth.
With the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, City of Knowledge was shut, but activists came together and rose online and in the streets with and for the WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN in September, showing solidarity with our Afghan sisters until the violence stops. AT CITY OF JOY IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, our 21st class graduated, turning their pain into power that is fueling change across a nation. 1734 survivors have graduated to date. They are change makers, celebrating their victory over trauma, thriving women who are determined to heal. V-DAY SAFE HOUSE FOR THE GIRLS IN NAROK COUNTY, KENYA, is celebrating its 20th year as girls unabashedly broke taboos, rejecting Female Genital Mutilation and Early Childhood Marriage, redirecting their lives and those of their communities’ through education and change.
V-Day’s newest project, VOICES, is emerging, centering Black women’s voices from across the Diaspora and reflecting an incredible selection from over 900 submissions received.
THE FOLLOWING PAGES WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH THE PAST YEAR IN OUR MOVEMENT, a year filled with new art and profound change. Our global movement– fueled by the loyal, determined activists who RISE with One Billion Rising, turn pain to power at the City of Joy, and continue to support and uplift V-Day through a multitude of creative resistances– is stronger than ever after 25 years. Our gratitude for your partnership and collaboration. It truly means the world to us.
In the face of the Covid-19 global pandemic that ripped through the world and shed light on inequity across all cultures, grassroots V-Day and One Billion Rising activists pushed boundaries and engaged in dialogue, with art and activism always at the forefront. They rose against a wave of right-wing nationalism, white supremacy, colorism, fascism, xenophobia, misogyny, femicide, homophobia, transphobia, corporate greed and climate destruction. As they rose, they centered the voices and experiences of the most marginalized. They met the moment by escalating the urgency with which they fought for gender, climate, economic and racial justice.
V-Day’s new VOICES project had our vast global network buzzing with excitement to see and hear the new artistic piece that will emerge in 2022, centering Black women’s voices from across the Diaspora at this critical time in our history as a planet.
One Billion Rising Global Coordinators and activists worldwide staged RISING GARDENS events – online and in real life – that were a defiant creative call for revival, restoration and transformation, making the connection between the destruction and eradication of Mother Earth and the ongoing and escalating gender-based violence. The work centered the needs of communities throughout the Covid pandemic.
At City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our 19th class graduated, turning their pain into power that is fueling change across a nation over 1650 graduates strong. In Kabul at the City of Knowledge, women continued to attend classes despite the recent spikes in violence targeting educational institutions and the turmoil with the US pulling out its troops. At the Tasaru V-Day Safe House for the Girls in Narok County, Kenya, girls broke taboos rejecting Female Genital Mutilation and redirecting their lives and those of their communities’ through education.
The following pages will take you through the past year in our movement, an unprecedented year marked by a global pandemic and by the RISING of activists globally to meet the moment via V-Day and One Billion Rising movements, and on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the City of Joy.
Your support of our movement is the wind at our backs. It truly means the world to us.
Twenty years ago, V’s (formerly Eve Ensler) play The Vagina Monologues gave birth to V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming).
Since 1998, The Vagina Monologues and other works have been performed across the world by local V-Day activists, raising over $100 million dollars for grassroots anti-violence groups, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and safe houses in places like Kenya and Afghanistan. V-Day supports and launched the City of Joy, a revolutionary center for women survivors of gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has graduated over 1000 women leaders.
Activists look at the intersection of class, race, gender, environmental destruction, imperialism, militarism, patriarchy, poverty, and war, as women face abuse and exploitation across layers of systematic and societal oppression, with the most marginalized and excluded often facing increased levels of violence.
In 2013, V-Day gave birth to One Billion Rising – the largest mass action to demand an end to violence against women in history. V-Day and One Billion Rising are a crucial part of the global fight to stop gender-based violence through attacking the silence — public and private — that allows violence against women to continue.
With ingenuity and determination, V-Day activists around the world are tirelessly working to end harassment, rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.
2017 was beyond comparison in our 19 years of work. The assent of a known sexual predator to the US Presidency alongside the emergence of other anti-women, anti-people leaders and governments around the world not only crystallized everything our movement has been working towards since 1998, but also galvanized our activists in an unprecedented way as they took to the stage and the streets in the face of policies and actions that sought to strip their basic rights and call into question their experiences.
With sharper focus on the rising and resistance against the systems that cause other forms of violence – imperialism, neo-facism, racism, capitalism and neo-liberalism – activists in our College and Community campaigns and One Billion Rising’s Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women campaign took up their struggle against sexual and physical violence, expanding their frame to focus on interconnected issues facing the most vulnerable: workers rights, immigration, poverty, racial violence, corruption, environmental plunder, state sponsored wars, militarization, displacement, and violence created by greed and lack of access to healthcare and education. At the City of Joy and in places like Afghanistan, women sowed seeds of inner and societal revolution.
You will see in the following pages expanded coverage of the work taking place through the V-Day and One Billion Rising movements, and on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the City of Joy.
We hope you enjoy it!
Join us as together we RISE in Solidarity to demand an end to the exploitation of all women and girls (cis, transgender and gender non-conforming).
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2015 was a revolutionary, evolutionary year for V-Day and One Billion Rising. Your solidarity and support made it possible! Activists worldwide called for system change towards ending violence against women and girls. They staged plays, risings and events, rose in the streets, changing laws, consciousness and culture with an impact that is breathtaking and powerful.
It is always our pleasure to share the powerful work of bold and outrageous activists across the world who are fighting to end violence against women and girls. 2014 was no different, it was a transformative year for V-Day and One Billion Rising, where every rising was part of a collective energetic decision to end violence and racial, environmental, economic and gender injustice. We stand in awe of what we were able to accomplish as a movement, and we can only do what we do with your help! We hope you enjoy this snapshot of another phenomenal year.
V-Day’s 15th anniversary year was unprecedented in every respect. One Billion women, men, and youth in 207 countries were inspired to STRIKE, RISE, and DANCE to end violence against women and girls. Record numbers of V-Day events were produced. The fourth class of women graduated from the City of Joy and returned to their communities with confidence, skills and knowledge to lead. Safe houses, rape crises centers and sexual assault campus programs kept their doors open despite government shut downs and long odds, laws in many countries were changed, and the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in the US.
In 2011-2012, we began a journey to mount V-Day’s largest and most ambitious campaign to date – ONE BILION RISING. In doing so, our dedicated V-team of staff, consultants, volunteers, friends and activists dreamed, envisioned, and created a strategy to reach our ambitious goal of ONE BILLION people. The ensuing work has made for one of the most challenging and exciting years we have had in the V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls.
The 2010-2011 year was a time of great transformation for our team at V-Day, and our activists and supporters globally. Overall when we look back at this year, we see a deepening of our collective commitment to ending violence against women and girls, and a renewed clarity about our work and the path ahead.
In 2010, V-Day once again mobilized thousands of activists, stakeholders, politicians and supporters around the world to keep a sharp and steady focus on the epidemic of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In February 2011, we opened the City of Joy, a revolutionary center for survivors of sexual violence in Bukavu. We are beyond thrilled to finally be at this important juncture in V-Day’s work, as we know that the City of Joy will serve as a model for groundbreaking and transformative work in other parts of the world where women and girls are being violated.
In 2009, alongside our worldwide activists, V-Day was horrified by the brutal and rampant violence that makes the Congo the most dangerous place to be a woman or girl, but inspired daily by the spirit of the women and girls of the Congo. Impassioned by this spirit, we were determined to bring the story of the Congo to the world. In telling the story, we made new friends and associations, expanded our networks and felt truly reinvigorated as we entered our 11th year! Thanks to you we are able to continue this important work and TURN PAIN TO POWER.
In 2008, V-Day celebrated its 10th anniversary. We saw amazing victories and pushed the V-Day movement to the next level. In our 2008 Annual Report, we have taken a moment to look back at the past decade, recap our V TO THE TENTH year, and look ahead to 2009.