1 in 3 women experience intimate partner violence and/or non-partner sexual violence at least once in their lifetime (WHO). This alarming statistic equates to a population of 1 billion women and girls, highlighting the all-pervasive presence of gender-based violence (GBV) in this world. Every February, women, youth and allies rise together against GBV, fostering a new kind of consciousness that celebrates love. This is the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign. With the theme ‘Rise for Freedom: Be the New World’, North East Network is standing in unison with the global community during OBR 2024.
The One Billion Rising campaign in Assam this year saw a collective spirit to end gender-based violence. Communities across six districts came together to voice their opposition through a myriad of creative expressions such as art, games, song, dance, play, poetry, etc. Each district contributed its unique flair to the movement. Kamrup (R) and Sonitpur observed OBR on the 7th of February, 2024. Collaborating with Sarpara Milan Sangha, the Gramin Mahila Kendra (GMK) of Kamrup (R) organised diverse activities, including musical chairs, poetry recitations, dance performances, speeches and songs. In Sonitpur, the activities entailed tug-of-war and songs aligning with the campaign. Darrang, Dhemaji, Golaghat and Udalguri observed the campaign on 11th February 2024. Women peer leaders from Darrang took part in a kabaddi match. The Gramin Mahila Kendra (GMK) of Golaghat organised the campaign, in collaboration with the Community Development Forum, with a street play ‘Azaadi’ performed by NEN’s youth collective. The GMK of Dhemaji, in collaboration with Howligaon Yuva Sangha, demonstrated a shared commitment to a world free of violence through poetry recitations, speeches, and a kabaddi match. Dance performances and speeches were a part of OBR in Udalguri, organised in collaboration with ROSS NGO.
A highlight of this year’s OBR was the song ‘Maa Ami Schoolole Jam Ae” written by Rashmirekha Bora, reverberating across all six districts. This song was also translated to Bodo by Howligaon Yuva Sangha, and sung in the Dhemaji district. The vision for a brighter tomorrow echoed through the lyrics of this song. The collective expressions of feelings, thoughts and messages in a shared canvas was another highlight of this campaign. With vibrant colours and resisting words, women, youth and allies from all six districts created a canvas filled with dreams about a better future, where discrimination, harassment, and violence against women have no place.
(Prior consent obtained for sharing children’s photographs)