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.
Friday’s gathering included students ranging from kindergarteners to master’s degree candidates, and about a dozen nuns. It 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 Islamic 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.