In the early winter of 2012, a twist of fate led me to 10x10 where I have since been tight-roping the synergistic line between media and activism. This is our Call to Action. Share the film and increase visibility.
Violence against women is not linked to specific countries, regions, religions, classes, races or ethnicities -- it happens all over the world from stable, developed economies to fragile, corrupt states.
A pink ribbon. An inspirational YouTube video. A group of women dancing. What do these things have in common? While they are symbols of important movements, they are also symbols of a dangerous trend in activism: "slacktivism."
A 27-year-old woman in Mogadishu who reported that government security forces raped her was convicted on criminal charges this month, along with a journalist who interviewed her. Her term will start when she finishes breastfeeding her baby.
Violence is a cycle, and it perpetuates itself. It is not only our generation, but our daughters and granddaughters who will suffer if we do not stand up and call a halt to this epidemic. By doing nothing, we jeopardize their future.
They asked for acknowledgement of this prevalence of domestic violence and a way to break out of the culture of silence that surrounds it. When this type of violence is not socially condemned and acceptable to protest, how can women stop suffering in silence?
Valentine's Day is a day where most spend it with their loved ones and exchange chocolates, flowers and other gifts. This year was a little different for me and my friends. We spent this special day dancing for a good cause.
In an effort to stop this 46-year-old body from sliding into total disrepair, I joined a fancy gym. It's definitely an investment and I'm committed to getting my money's worth, which is why I started taking classes -- yoga, pilates, power napping, and my favorite -- Zumba.
The network of V-Day volunteers spreads to all four corners of the world. It is a subtle and respectful spread of sisterly support that does not impose neocolonialism or euro-centricity onto local or indigenous communities.
Perhaps Valentine's Day is one of those events just created by greeting card companies. Whatever the case, the whole day needs a re-boot and our youth, along with others who care, will rise to turn Valentine's Day upside down through One Billing Rising.
Every Valentine's Day, I end up reflecting on the previous year and the state of women in the world. It has now become my V-day ritual -- sorting through articles, and considering the presence of gender-based violence in the media over the previous 12 months.
"We want to build a national monument to survivors, because we want to live in a country that holds public and supportive space for survivors to heal," adds co-founder of FORCE, Hannah Brancato, "Because we want to live in a country that believes rape can and must end."
To my Isabella, as with most three-year-olds, Valentine's Day is innocence and chocolate. But for far too many women and girls in our community and around the world, Valentine's Day innocence is broken.
Violence against women begins with violence against girls. In many countries, this begins even before birth -- estimates suggest that there are more than 100 million 'missing women' as a result of sex-selective abortions.