Kent flash mob joins fight against women’s abuse

Students perform in a flash mob in Rockwell Hall for a worldwide cause called One Billion Uprising. The flash mobs are performed to increase awareness of abuse toward women. Photo by Stacy Graham.

Students perform in a flash mob in Rockwell Hall for a worldwide cause called “One Billion Uprising.” The flash mobs are performed to increase awareness of abuse toward women. Photo by Stacy Graham.

KentWired Video

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Video by Haley Phillippi.

Students broke out in dance throughout campus Thursday to create awareness for violence against women.

The Kent State University Women’s Center joined activists around the world for “One Billion Rising,” the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, according to a Kent State press release.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of V-Day.

Three flash mobs took place throughout the day. The first took place at Rockwell Hall at noon, the second at Risman Plaza at 12:55 p.m. and the last was held in the lobby at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at 5:30 p.m.

This was the first time Kent State has done a “One Billion Rising” flash mob.

Cassie Pegg-Kirby, assistant director of the Women’s Center, said it was something that kept popping up since the fall, and there was a lot of interest in it.

Statistics show one in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, and the goal of this organization is to put an end to the violence.

Kent Interhall Council also reached out to the Women’s Center because there was an initiative through its organization to do the event.

Jessica Ballas, sophomore fashion merchandising major, watched a tutorial of the dance online, learned it and taught it to the participants.

“I was really inspired. I’ve never done anything like this,” Ballas said. “This is a huge thing that is happening. Many people don’t know about violence in women and girls.”

There was a lot of planning and organizing that went in to making the event possible. Information about the event was spread through social networking sites, emails and word of mouth.

Ballas said she spent more time sending out emails to organize the event than practicing for the dance, but she said she had tons of support from everyone.

Hannah Good, early admission student, said the dance meant a lot to her because she had experienced abuse.

“I’ve been a victim of abuse from multiple boyfriends,” Good said. “No one should have to go through it.”

Pegg-Kirby wanted to let those who are a victim of abuse know that they aren’t alone. Kent State has the resources and support services available for them.

Many of the participants said they were nervous to dance, but were excited to be a part of a good cause. Jessica Corey, English graduate student, said she was proud of herself for getting out there and doing it.

“I felt like I was completely embarrassing myself,” Corey said. “However, I will do that if it spreads the word about women’s issues and sexual assault.”

Madeline Meinhardt, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said she has never done anything like this before, but would definitely do it again.

“I was really nervous going out there at first with all of the people watching, but it was really fun and exciting,” Meinhardt said. “After it was over I feel that we got a lot more people to listen and know what is going on.”

Grace Coy, sophomore fashion merchandising major, thought that this event was the perfect opportunity to stand up for women’s rights.

“It was so much fun,” Coy said. “I’ve always wanted to be in a flash mob. It’s really cool and emotional to know that you are doing something to make a statement and hope make a difference.”

Pegg-Kirby said Valentine’s Day is a time when people celebrate love and care, and that people need to remember to stand up for themselves in relationships.

“This is a serious problem that is easily swept under the rug,” Corey said. “It’s a really important issue that needs to be brought up more.”

Contact Heather Kunkle at [email protected].