One Billion Rising, a world wide movement to end violence against women and girls, is gearing up for the second year of its campaign, this year titled One Billion Rising for Justice.

In the words of the global movement:

ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.  It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.

Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered, and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release, and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage, and bondage.

The campaign is a recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.

It is a call to bring on revolutionary justice.

Closer to home, Sri Lanka has too many shocking statistics for us to ignore. Rape and other crimes against women and girls is on the increase, high numbers of sex offenders are handed suspended sentences (more here and here), officials holding public office are routinely involved in crimes and harassment against women, and women are spoken to and treated in a derogatory manner from the Parliament to public spaces.

This year we join the OBR movement to make a collective call for accountability; for justice; for our right as women, citizens and humans to safety, dignity and equality. We demand our right to be free from physical, sexual, economic, environmental, cultural and religious violence, and we demand our government, judiciary and legal system to take the responsibility of ensuring us these rights.

In the coming months we will be using this space to raise awareness on issues pertaining to this campaign. We invite you all to contribute, in any form – writing, photographs, video, poetry etc – your stories and your voices. Email us on obrsrilanka[at]gmail[dot]com or leave us a message on our facebook page to get involved. We also encourage you to plan your own events leading up to and on the 14th of February 2014 and to let us know how we can support you and get involved.

Last year Sri Lankans turned out in large numbers all over the country for the various events that took place on February 14th, 2013. We hope to have bigger numbers, more events, more awareness and more substantial change this year. We are counting on your support and involvement to achieve this.

In solidarity.