Amidst the loving feelings of Valentine's Day there remains the unfortunate dark side of some relationships of domestic violence.
It's a story too often told, one of abuse and fear at the center of a relationship. Domestic violence, especially towards women, is a global problem but in Omaha one group is doing their part to contribute to a worldwide solution.
Thursday, organizers at Nebraska Methodist College will host one of several events across town, all part of "One Billion Rising." At Nebraska Methodist College, they are hosting “Strike, Dance, Rise” as part of the events. The global movement is based on the statistic from a 2008 report initiated by the UN Secretary-General’s Office that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime which adds to a total of one billion. Events on Thursday are aimed to fight back, against the violence.
"We will not allow it to be marginalized any longer, it will be at the forefront of our issues globally and this force, this critical mass is what we need to kind of be the tipping point, to move us into the next phase of taking action,” Keri Wayne-Browne said.
“One Billion Rising”
Date: February 14th
Time 4:00 pm to 6:00pm
Location: 720 North 87th Street Omaha, NE 68114
The February 14th event will include speakers, including Methodist Health System SANE Program Coordinator Anne Boatright, dance performances and short dance instruction.
Fourteen years ago, Wayne-Browne decided to take action in college at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln against domestic violence and violence against women. "Having this event on Valentine's Day is really about reclaiming the feminine and really revering women every day of the year,” Wayne- Browne said.
Now, she is involved in “One Billion Rising” with NMC. "We start here in Omaha, and we ripple out, I am one of one billion. It's not relevant in my life at this point, I'm very passionate about the work that I do, I think it fuels my passion,” Wayne-Browne said.
That passion can be seen in a YouTube video promoting Thursday night’s event. What looks to be a normal lecture inside a classroom at NMC, quickly turns into a dance party that before long, turns into an all out flash mob.
Erika Pritchard, a Coordinator of Leadership Development with the college said she wanted to help choreograph the dance video to get involved with the event. Pritchard explained it was a metaphor for what can happen in Omaha and across the globe, a few women who support each other can grow their numbers slowly, before too long, build a solid support network for survivors of violence and DV.
“There are women across the world that are actually risking their lives to dance and it makes me choke up a little bit because I haven't had to risk my life to dance, they do,” Pritchard said.
A poignant example of how the cause against the abuse and violence is catching fire, Pritchard said. Especially for NMC nursing student Jori Reeves. "To see that first hand, the abuse and to care for those patients and to listen to their stories and I would love to anything I can to prevent that,” Reeves said.