Violence against women and girls is one of the most wide-ranging and terrible injustices of our times. Not confined to specific age-groups, countries or cultures, it is manifested in trafficking, abuse by an intimate partner, rape, forced marriage, violence in conflict, and female genital mutilation. According to World Bank data, women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria.
In fact, one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That's one billion women - and the reason that V Day founder Eve Ensler is calling for a billion women to "walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence" with her One Billion Rising campaign.
Building up to a day of action on February 14th 2013, the idea is that by participating in a "rising", men and women the world over will show collective strength and solidarity, inspiring change and calling for an end to violence and rape culture.
On the OBR website, Ensler says:
"I am over being polite about rape. It's been too long now, we have been too understanding.
"We need people to truly try and imagine - once and for all - what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need you to let our rage and our compassion connect us together so we can change the paradigm of global rape."
Ensler has worked to address the issue of VAWG for a long time and it's certainly an issue that's in need a global uprising. What the One Billion Rising campaign has already is a lot of support from well-known names - Jane Fonda, Ruby Wax, and Jessica Alba to name just three - which is a plus point when getting media coverage. The idea of creating talking points and raising awareness through making our own videos and watching others is a good one which will probably introduce people to plenty of new facts and perspectives. The plan that next February, people everywhere will drop what they are doing and dance, is a nice one. It'll certainly look cool, and again it may well get people talking.
But what it needs to translate into is action on VAWG, and some people are already sceptical that nothing much will change. People might join a "rising" because it's a slick campaign and a fun thing to do, but could this really change the status quo and help end rape culture? It's a bit optimistic.
And having watched the official campaign video, which is extremely triggering in its depictions of VAWG, I was left wondering whether such graphic imagery had to be used in an attempt to rally women who may well have found themselves in some of the situations shown and may not want to be reminded about it. The video has left a few people dismayed and feeling that it wasn't a good idea to actually show uncomfortable scenes of violence, however "hard hitting" it might be.
On the plus side, the efforts to promote the campaign might draw people together and get them supporting organisations and planning actions. This, of course, will be a bonus and the One Billion Rising website helps people to do this, by suggesting ways to get involved for teachers and students, encouraging you to write to politicians, and asking you to distribute One Billion Rising promo material locally. It also asks particpants to consider what impact they want their "rising" to have.
"Organize to change a law, get more funding for women’s programs, or model new non-violent ways of being in your city, office, or college."
It's essential that actions that take place next February go further than a few minutes of dancing, that they encourage people to make changes in their lives and stand up against injustice. Could Ensler's campaign really create a talking point and change attitudes? Rape culture has so far proved extremely entrenched and resistant to objections. But it's important to believe that things can change - for the sake of women worldwide, they must.
You can submit your own One Billion Rising video at the official website or via the Guardian website.
Hannah Mudge writes about all things news and feminism-themed for BitchBuzz, and is currently adjusting to life as a new mum. You can also read her blog, We Mixed Our Drinks or follow her tweets as @boudledidge.