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Rising up against sexual assault

One week from today, women and men in Portland will celebrate a different kind of V-Day -- one that doesn't involve chocolates and flowers. This February 14th marks the 15th anniversary of Eve Ensler's V-Day: "a global movement to end violence against women and girls."

This year's event, dubbed One Billion Rising, calls on women and men to "stop what they normally do, walk out, strike, and dance."

"ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.
ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY.
ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION."

Here in Portland, the festivities will begin in Monument Square at noon, followed by a march to the USM Woodbury Campus Center, where there will be presentations from guest speakers, poets, drummers, and dancers.   

Want to educate yourself and others about ways to minimize the distorted ways we think and talk about sexuality and violence? Check out this piece from The Nation, "Ten Things to End Rape Culture," which include re-imagining masculinity and embracing the concept of "enthusiastic consent."

In related news, US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree introduced a bill just yesterday that would "make it easier for survivors of military sexual trauma to get VA benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs," according to a press release from Pingree's office. "The bill relaxes evidentiary standards for tying a mental health condition to an assault."

The release states that sexual assault is "epidemic levels in the Armed Forces."

Rise up.

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