PURCHASE, N.Y. – Manhattanville College students joined activists from around Westchester County in a walk around campus Thursday night to raise awareness of and stop abuse against women as part of the worldwide one-day event called One Billion Rising.
“I think it’s an extraordinarily important event because it’s happening all over the world. And if you look at statistics of what happens to women domestically and internationally, it’s more than a disgrace,” said Connie Hogarth, the namesake of the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action on campus. “It’s just an indication of the rampant violence in our culture. Violence tends to be inflicted on those who are most vulnerable – children and women.”
Hogarth was joined by freshman Vanity Hendricks-Robinson, a student coordinator at the Hogarth Center, and a dozen other students and local activists, including Yorktown resident Dave Saltzman.
“There’s a lot of things to be done, and I’m the type of person who likes to be in an environment where there’s a lot of energy and different opportunities,” said Hendricks-Robinson. “I think sparking that question in people and being able to sit there and talk to them about domestic violence is important.”
One of every three women on the planet are raped or beaten in their lifetime, according to the One Billion Rising website. Dance parties were held throughout the world and by different entities such as Amnesty International USA, MTV and Zumba Fitness to raise awareness of violence against women.
Hendricks-Robinson, a chemistry major from Chicago, said she wants to pass on what she is doing at the Hogarth Center and get other people involved.
Women need to be equal to men in every place, including the workforce, and domestic violence must stop, Saltzman said.
“It makes you think that what you’re doing could make a difference or I wouldn’t stand here,” he said. “I’m here because women’s status needs to be elevated at every level.”
Comparing the One Billion Rising to a gardener who just planted his seeds, Saltzman is hopeful for change.
“By participating actively with other people, it creates a huge power,” said Hogarth, 86, who said activism is in her blood. The Hogarth Center doors are always open to victims of abuse.
“One thing is you don’t stay in an abusive situation,” she said. “Unfortunately, a lot of women find they do, one way or another. You can’t do it alone. We’d make sure she was in contact with the counseling center here and that there were sources of help for her. We’d find a way.”