One (in a) Billion

Author Dena Dervanovic
Feb 24, 2014

1 out of 3. Sounds like regular statistical data, doesn’t it?

To women around the globe, it sounds like a reminder of how much patriarchy imposes itself over equality. 1 out of 3 women in the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime which leaves us with an appalling number of one billion women subjected to violence. This reminder of the untold story of women worldwide is fueling a global movement that wants to tell this story, to break the silence that lasted way too long. In order to do this, a movement was created in 2012. The campaign, carrying the symbolic name ‘One Billion Rising’ complements women’s movements around the globe and successfully mobilized thousands of women and men in 2013 who took the streets and demanded an end of gender-based violence.

The movement gathers more than 200 countries worldwide every 14th February creating a global revolution that collects efforts for a just world, a world where women do not have live shadowed by fear, humiliation, violence, sexual assaults and shame. Last year, UNDP’s Administrator Helen Clark supported the campaign with a video message and joined many other prominent people in raising their voice.

1 out of 3 goes deeper than that. In Montenegro, 1 out of 3 women experience violence in their lifetime as well. Such a big number for such a small country. A number that was born and bred by patriarchal values, conservatism and male supremacy over women. 1 out of 3 is unacceptable. Over the years, the voice of Montenegrin women grew stronger and Montenegro joined the global movement One Billion Rising this year again after participating last year as well. With the gender-based violence situation in Montenegro, it is clear that advocacy campaigns such as One Billion Rising are essential to raise awareness on the necessity of improvement in the areas of prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of its victims.

In order to raise awareness on the issues of gender-based violence in Montenegro, this and other campaigns are always done in co-operation with restless civil societies and the Ministry of human and minority rights because we think the right way to campaign against gender-based violence is to include all key stakeholders that can make an impact on the society.

We prepared for this event meticulously. We launched a pre-campaign that gave way for everyone to express their discontent with violence against women. The pre-campaign was executed via social media, mainly through our Facebook page “Nadjacajmo tisinu” that is used for violence-related issues, gathering so many different individuals who stood up against violence. We wanted the pre-campaign to be accessible to every interested individual, thus, we created a simple concept of holding a piece of paper with our message against violence (see photo infra). The campaign was covered on our UNDP Gender Programme Montenegro website, Twitter and Facebook page, as well as the UN in Montenegro Facebook page and Twitter. We have also contacted and engaged the UN Montenegro staff along with the respective UN agencies in the country. Many people heard our call for justice and contributed greatly to the overall effect of the campaign. We made an impact. Women and men of all ages joined us in raising our voice. We have compiled some of those contributions as a sign of our gratitude for having a society that is starting to understand the concept of this movement.

We could not have had a better outcome on social media channels. Thousands of people joined us in spreading the word in a viral fashion. Exempli gratia, our Facebook insights for the main pre-campaign channel ‘Nadjacajmo tisinu’ showed a 270% increase in the people engaged in the pre-campaign and a 58% increase in weekly page Likes. This was just the beginning of a movement that was gloriously concluded by a dance.

14th February was a rainy, gloomy day. However, the bad weather did not stop a couple of hundreds attendees, among which there was a combination of everyone: restless activists, diplomats, NGOs, companies, institutions, media, citizens, women, men, the young and the elderly. The event was covered by all media. We played the hymn of One Billion Rising and danced with professional dancers, spreading our powerful voice throughout this country and to promote egalitarian and peaceful values.

We danced for eliminating that terrifying number: 1 out of 3.