Valentine’s Day event addresses violence against women

The R.E.C. Room is rising up to raise awareness about violence against women – both in Homer and across the globe – by hosting a One Billion Rising event on Sunday, Feb. 14. Starting at 2 p.m. at the gazebo in WKFL park, which is next to Homer’s Jeans on Pioneer, the event will feature poetry readings and an opportunity for people to share their stories.

The event will also have papers for people to write why they are “rising” against violence against women, and dancing to music that is featured at One Billion Rising events around the world.

The One Billion Rising campaign is named for the global statistic that one out of three women will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. When calculated based on the female world population, the number comes out to one billion women and girls who face abuse, according to One Billion Rising’s website. The organization began a global campaign in 2013 with the idea that communities across the world could host an event between the start of February through March 8 to show solidarity and express anger over this injustice. This year’s theme is One Billion Rising: Rise for Revolution.

Homer teen August Kilcher has been working with R.E.C Room peer coordinator Doug Koester to put on the One Billion Rising event for Homer. For Kilcher, hosting the event is one way to bring Homer into the conversation about domestic and sexual abuse of women – currently a globally trending topic – and raise awareness of it within the community.

“Spreading awareness of the fight against domestic and sexual abuse of women is very important for me and I’m sure for plenty of other people as well,” Kilcher said. “Of course statistics, statistics, statistics – overall it’s a number that should be zero instead of this many women in their lifetime.”

Within the Kenai Peninsula, 52 percent of women experience sexual assault, intimate partner violence, of which domestic violence is a part, or both, according to the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center’s Alaska Victimization Survey for 2013. The number rises to 59 percent of women when looking at Alaska as a state, according to the survey for 2010.

“These are issues that are present today and really, in my opinion, I’m hoping for a future where they don’t have to be present at all,” Kilcher said. 

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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