One billion rise to end violence against women

The Columbia-area NOW held the event to raise money and awareness for violence against women.

The Columbia-area chapter of the National Organization for Women hosted a "Strike! Dance! Rise!" event Friday to raise awareness and money for victims of violence against women.

The local event is one of many around the world for the One Billion Rising Campaign. It's no coincidence that the campaign, now in its second year, falls on Valentine's Day.

"Valentine's Day, with its focus on relationships, was an appropriate venue to talk and think about how relationships should be. Rather than a model in which people are abused and hurt and put down,' Seileach Corleigh, vice president for the Columbia-area and Missouri chapters of NOW, said.

Corleigh said she's the type of person who wants to help whenever there are people in need, and while she cannot always contribute financially she can raise awareness through events like this.

Donations at the event will go to the domestic violence and rape crisis center in Maryville, Missouri.

A performance of protest songs from the "Raging Grannies" of the local chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom set the tone.

"The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has a long tradition of women dressing up as grannies and going to protest. It, on the one hand, diffuses the situation a little bit and uses humor, but we also get our message across with the lyrics," Raging Granny Christine Gardener said.

At Friday's event, all attendees were given the opportunity to write down and share the reasons why they wanted to rise and join the campaign.

You can find more information on the international One Billion Rising Campaign here.