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One Billion Rising: Creating New Possibilities for What It Means to Be a Man

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ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.

That means one out of every three women you know, and one out of every three women you don’t – one billion women. Unfathomable?  Fact.

On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, V-Day Founder, Eve Ensler, “actrivist” Rosario Dawson and others invited ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. V-Day wanted the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.

And, we did. ONE BILLION RISING activated women and men across every country.  All over the world.

All kinds of people participated in One Billion Rising – people of all classes and colors – from all corners of the world. That so many women participated in this revolutionary activity, working together on our behalf, and on behalf of the health of our world, was profound.  Equally so, was the participation of men, recognizing their part of the problem and the solution. It is clear that men of many ages and cultures have the same wish for a new definition of what it means to be a man.

This very moving short film “Man Prayer” beautifully presents the hope for freedom from the limitations of our modern definition of masculinity. Thank you for the film Tony Stroebel, and thank you Eve Ensler for creating #1billionrising.

Like many people, this breathtaking organizing effort to stop violence against women, in the name of creating a just, thriving and humane world was thrilling for me.  I have long felt that the future of our world rested on a very self-conscious effort to help women and men to develop, and re-create who we  are as women and men. I started my career thirty years ago working to stop and address domestic violence, and have been working ever since to help men and women to grow, and to create new possibilities for being who we are in the world. I help people to do that in therapy, coaching and training, and in their lives every day.

Many years ago, men in my practice were asking for help with who they were as men. It was clear that they wanted to grow emotionally, and to become more loving, but did not know how to go about it.  In addition to the work we did in our groups, I began to lead workshops – with women and men – to help them become better men.

I do this work because I am eager for us as a human community, as a culture and as a world, to create new possibilities, so that we have some new options for how to deal with the complex, often difficult experiences that we all have. My hope is that we can create, together, anew ‘what it means to be men and women’. Here is a video excerpt from one  talk/workshop that I gave called, What’s Wrong With Men and How Can Women Help, where people were working to do just that:

V-Day and ONE BILLION RISING put this work on the world stage, and created an opportunity for men and women to work on how to be more powerful, giving and loving.

How can we, and you build off of that? What new possibilities would you like to see as women and men?  Thoughts? Comments? Leave them here. Or find us on Twitter. And Facebook.



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Karen Steinberg