Utahns among One Billion Rising against violence toward women

Posted at 4:30 PM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-15 00:33:35-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The United Nations estimates that a billion woman are beaten, raped or abused at some point in their lifetime. People across the globe, including here in Utah, rose up on Thursday to break that chain of violence.

Five hundred people were expected at a flash mob at the University of Utah at noon on Thursday to perform a dance called "Break the Chain."

"There's definitely an emotional component to it. People are coming together. People who in other circumstances might not give another glance at each other. People coming together to dance to rise to strike. That creates a community," said Nakita Swanigan, a participant in Thursday's flash mob.

The flash mob is part of the global One Billion Rising movement that popped up on YouTube, with dozens of flash mobs performing from Salt Lake City, to New York and across the globe to New Dehli.

"It's a global issue it's not just a local issue," said Swanigan. "It's not just a black issue, it's not a white issue, it's not a female issue. It's a human issue that everyone is affected by."

Women weren't the only people at the event. Marty Liccado, who is a member of the Men's Anti-violence Network of Utah, or MAN Utah, says the burden of curbing abuse should focus on the perpetrators rather than the victims.

"Instead of telling women how not to get raped, we should be telling men not to rape. That would be a much more successful approach," Liccado said.

The event was part of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.