Marking the 15th anniversary of its so-called "V-Day" initiative, the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence is preparing to mark this Thursday's Valentine's Day with what it calls its most ambitious campaign to date. In fact, the Boise event, slated for the Statehouse steps Feb. 14 at noon, will coincide with a global effort calling for nearly 1 billion women to rise up against violence directed toward women and children.
"In Idaho, there have been four intimate partner violence-related fatalities in January," said Kelly Miller, executive director of the Idaho Coalition. "One is too many. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that must be stopped."
One Billion Rising was initiated by activist Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day, to focus on the impact of global teen dating violence. The Idaho Coalition is partnering with communities and organizations across the Gem State to bring local and regional urgency to the One Billion Rising movement.
The State Capitol will be the scene of a noontime rally that includes drumming circles and dancers. In particular, the Idaho Coalition hopes to see a number of Boise High students make their ways to the Statehouse demonstration during their lunch break.
“The Idaho Coalition’s goal is to empower teens in Idaho and across the nation to become agents in promoting healthy teen relationships,” said Miller. “We must meet the youth where they are at by providing effective and cutting-edge activities.”
One Billion Rising is working closely with another V-Day campaign called Love What’s Real, an Instagram contest. The #lovewhatsreal contest is designed to use the power of social media to join a collective movement promoting healthy teen relationships by sharing real moments in real relationships.
“Our education system plays an important role in preventing abuse against girls,” said Miller. “Schools are uniquely positioned to promote healthy relationships, and to help girls who are abused or sexually assaulted. Boys and girls who are empowered through this kind of education are less likely to engage in violence or to think violence is acceptable.”
According to the coalition, the number of Idaho high-school students reporting they have experienced physical violence by a dating partner has dropped from 13.6 percent in 2007 to 10.6 percent in 2009 to 8.7 percent in 2011.