One Billion Rising: 'We will stand up and dance to free ourselves'

EUGENE, Ore. -- As the clock struck noon Thursday, a flash mob of about 150 dancers fell into formation outside of the Lane Community College cafeteria.

They were the local ambassadors in a movement called One Billion Rising, a global event that raises awareness of the violence that women will endure in their lifetime.

Lydia Espinoza, an organizer for the flash mob, said that one billion women, accounting for a third of the world's female population, will experience rape or physical violence at some point in their life.

"The whole message is to tell women and men that it's not OK to abuse women or any gender for that matter, so today we'll rise, we will stand up and dance to free ourselves," said Espinoza.

On Valentine's Day, men and women around the world took a unified stand in changing this statistic.

"The attempt today is to get a billion people to dance around the globe in order to bring awareness to this gender violence," said Stan Taylor, a Political Science professor and chair of the Lane Peace Center.

The flash mob participants danced to "Break the Chain", the song chosen as a theme of the movement.

"You're basically breaking the chain. You're breaking out of it," said Lydia. "You're not going to let abuse to yourself or to any of your family members anymore."

Another One Billion Rising event will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lane County Fairgrounds Wheeler Pavilion. Womenspace, the Lane county Domestic Violence Council and other groups will offer services and information to help women avoid violence in Lane County.