|OBR in SL (moderate)|
I don’t usually write posts like this one without thinking about it for a day or so first. There’s always a possibility that sober reflection will moderate my feelings or at least temper my words.
In this case the danger is exacerbated by a significant absence of sleep – something of which I am particularly fond and highly recommend. :)
I’m going to do it anyway.
The One Billion Rising in Second Life↑ event ended less than 9 hours ago. It was 24 hours of art and music and dancing and duct-taping sims to the grid and chasing idiots and welcoming survivors and their friends/relatives and people who just wanted to learn more. It was also the culmination of weeks of work on the part of amazing volunteers and it was everything I hoped.
I had a chat with a friend this morning in which I explained that I grew up in an era where I watched people attempting to change the world by marching across a bridge with arms linked. Did discrimination end the next day? No, and it may never be eradicated. However, that movement, and the awareness it raised, made a difference.
This language of ours is complex and rich and layered. There are many possible meanings of the words “rise” and “rising”. One of the most common and, I would think, most obvious is “protest, insurrection, revolt, rebellion”. I rose in protest of the idea that the issue of violence against women has no place in the top priorities of this world, in the agendas of legislators and policy makers. I rose as part of a campaign because there is strength in numbers and the feeling of unity is empowering.
If I had thought the meaning was to “rise above” violence, I would have actively worked against this project. As a victim of violence it made me physically ill to think somebody would believe that I – or indeed anybody involved with this event – had that as an objective.
During the weeks of planning I had people accusing us of dismissing the issue of violence against men – which I replied, is much like saying Relay For Life doesn’t believe heart disease is a serious problem. This was an event about women, it wasn’t saying nothing else is important. It was and is saying, this issue is also damn important and deserves more than dismissal as a “distraction”. I would have been delighted to address the misconception about “rising above” if I’d been aware of it.
My availability, however, for many things, became naturally more and more limited as the event drew closer. Working on something like this requires a combined thousands of hours of effort on the part of more than 140 volunteers. Being an organizer is a joy – but there are a lot of demands on your time when you’re managing teams in these projects. Those demands only increase and your focus narrows to the things that must be done to get all the tasks accomplished, so I become very selfish.
With less than 48 hours to go before the doors opened, I was not going to indulge somebody by addressing their need for lengthy discussion and education on a public forum. It isn’t a matter of debating. I don’t care if people I know all agree with me. It would be a very strange world if they all did, all the time ( although sometimes would be nice – jk).
There is lots of information and widely varying opinions on the subject of One Billion Rising out there. People read them and reach conclusions – and maybe sometimes they misunderstand, and maybe I wish I could have addressed everything, everywhere, for as long as everybody seemed to believe I should. But, my priority was the people and the volunteers – not one individual’s need for more than a brief clarification I could afford the time to contribute. I will make the same choice again in the future.
I felt strongly about the campaign and the event. If dancing doesn’t make sense, that’s not a huge surprise. I loved this article↑ because, although I didn’t agree with everything, her explanation of the origins of the dance concept was articulate and better than I could have done. (and yes, I’ve had one of those tshirts for many many years!)
Let me end this on a high note – because it really was a fabulous experience. The entire planning, building and event process was full of joy – even when things broke or didn’t work as intended – I loved it. The performer we had scheduled to close the event had to cancel at the last minute (stuff happens to us all). The replacement was a woman I’d never heard of and I can’t understand why. From the first note she sang we were mesmerized and we remained awe struck for the entire hour.
I’m going to leave you with a video of her singing one of the songs she performed last night. Go hear Samm Qendra↑ if you get a chance – please, she’s just incredible. I’m going to get some sleep and then go thank all of the people I’ve been privileged to work with for the past few weeks.