MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Around 4,000 mostly female students from a Roman Catholic school in Manila stomped their feet and raised their hands Friday as they danced to call for an end to violence against women and girls.
The gathering – which in-cluded students ranging from kin-dergarteners to master’s degree candidates, and about a dozen nuns – was part of a global campaign called One Billion Rising.
Filipino actress Monique Wilson, a director of the movement that was started three years ago, said UN statistics show one in three women – or 1 billion – will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
“Violence against women and children has escalated and worsened — domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, cyber pornography, kidnapping — that there is hardly space for women and children,” the school said in a statement, noting that hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last year by militants remain missing.
Sister Mary Francis Dizon, the school’s president, danced wearing a pink “One Billion Rising” shirt over her white nun’s frock. “We rise, revolt and dance to a future when there is no more violence, when social structures and relationships protect and support the vulnerable, and when women and children are safe, secure and empowered,” she said.