One Billion Rising rally shakes up stigma surrounding abuse survivors

Hundreds marched in Downtown Denver on Saturday
Posted at 1:55 PM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-18 20:23:53-05

DENVER – Energy at Saturday’s rally at the 16th St. Mall reflected the event’s title: Rising.

Hundreds filled the sidewalks outside of the Denver Pavilions on Saturday morning for the One Billion Rising rally.

The event started back in 2012 after World Health Organization statistics found one in three women across the globe are sexually or physically abused during their lifetime.

“They determined that equals to over one billion women and girls throughout the world, based on our population,” said event co-organizer Tangie Lancaster.

A drum circle, belly dancers and a flash mob welcomed hundreds to the mall. The group later moved to Civic Center Park.

“For me, this is very healing. I did not really talk about what happened to me in my past until this movement came along,” Lancaster said with a smile.

She described the physical and sexual abuse she had experienced in the past pointing to her husband, who is also a sexual abuse survivor, and two sons who were there to support her.

“I think it’s more all-encompassing and includes everyone, and I think we just need to have more of an awareness, so that we can stop these terrible things from happening.”

Like Lancaster, other survivors and supporters joined the event, focused on ending violence against women.

Many who spoke with Denver7, like Emma Fleming, said they acknowledge the pain.

“It’s still something that impacts me every day. I have nightmares. So, it’s a part of my day-to-day. Getting through the world.” However, none identify themselves as victims, “It won’t defeat me,” Fleming said.

Fleming added the turn-out and message behind Saturday’s rally was a true testament to our current times.

“People who may not have supported things in the past because they felt like it wasn’t their personal concern- they see now, that we’re all in this together. That no one is free if anyone isn’t free.”

The event is usually held on Valentine’s Day, but was moved from Feb. 14 because that has long been a day focused on raising awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women.

New to this year’s rally is the focus on Red Fawn Fallis. She is the Denver-native who was arrested at a Standing Rock camp back in October.

You may remember she allegedly fired a gun at officers while being arrested.

Many at Saturday’s rally said she was unfairly arrested, calling for her release.

Fallis was protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. #FreeRedFawn has gone viral.


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