Our work this year is to weave this bigger story together. On Jan. 8 next year, many cities, including New York, Santa Fe, Miami, Mumbai, Manila and London, are organizing forums called “The State of Female Justice,” where leaders of activist groups, lawyers, thinkers and survivors are talking about a more inclusive, multilayered story. Many questions have arisen: How do we create justice when the state is paralyzed or against us? What does justice look like? How do we address root causes of violence? How do we join our struggles? And how do we distinguish between justice and revenge?
Justice is resonant across all kinds of boundaries because the refusal to hold perpetrators of violence accountable is a global plague often an equal, or sometimes worse, trauma than the original act of violence. Many places are planning events where women will come forward to tell their stories of injustice. Women in India are planning to have tribunals outside courthouses, breaking the silence and demanding accountability. In Britain, there is a rising planned outside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, where women are held for months instead of receiving asylum and care after fleeing countries where they were raped, tortured and threatened. All the member groups of International Women’s Alliance around the global south will be rising, not just against corporations, but against the whole system that keeps women poor. Syrian women are rising from the front lines of war. Many incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women are rising against the continued imprisonment of so many black and brown people. They are rising because the majority of women in prison are there with histories of being victimized by violence that directly or indirectly led to their incarceration. Indigenous and Aboriginal women are rising throughout the world to reverse laws that allow corporations to steal, develop and pollute their land, and because the rate of violence against them is often three to 10 times higher than the non-indigenous population. There are thousands of men rising to reconceive of notions of masculinity and manhood. College students are participating in Campus Rising, demanding safety and accountability on college campuses, where in one year over 300,000 women are sexually assaulted in the US alone.
This is just a taste of the thousands of actions being planned for Feb. 14. We will be rising outside courtrooms, corporate headquarters, churches, workplaces and mining sites. This year, we will go further, releasing, dancing and putting our bodies on the line with specific demands and visions that through our numbers, solidarity and energy cannot be denied. Come rise with us.
Eve Ensler is an American playwright, performer, feminist and activist, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues.