LOS ANGELES — Thousands danced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hundreds chanted in South Africa, carrying signs and candles. The Philippines held a 24-hour dance party. Scores of students in India gathered for a candlelight vigil.
Organizers say these are among thousands of events taking place in 205 countries Thursday as part of One Billion Rising, an international call led by Eve Ensler's V-Day organization to end violence against women and girls.
Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues," announced the campaign last year, urging women and men around the world to walk out of work or school on Feb. 14, 2013, and dance to raise awareness of the troubling U.N. statistic that one in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
"It's happening, and what we're seeing is really huge uprisings," Ensler said Thursday in a telephone interview from Congo. "It's amazing because it goes from huge events like in Collins Square in London to six girls in a living room in Iran. That's what's so beautiful about it, like the whole world's doing it in the way they can do it."
International officials have also endorsed the event, including prime ministers of England and Australia, the president of Croatia, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted, "I rise with people of good conscience to stand up against intolerable acts of violence against women around the world. (hash)1billionrising."