Valentine’s Day Rally Focuses on Eradicating Violence Against Women in Maine; Legislation Under Consideration by Feds

Flash Mob Action in Conjunction with a Worldwide Rally led by Whitley Newman (Front in Red) in Monument Square.

By Carol McCracken   (Post # 1,298)

“Maine is the most peaceful state in the nation, but has the third highest domestic abuse rate in the United States against women,” said Whitley Newman,  following the flash mob dance at Portland’s  Monument Square on Valentine’s Day.  “We are in solidarity with 1 Billion Rising women  across the world who will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. We are raising awareness and showing that women who have had these experiences are not alone and there are support systems all around Maine.” (Newman is engaged to be married to  city councilor David Marshall this August.)

The worldwide event here in Portland started at 11:am at the Meg Perry Center where women rehearsed the flash mob dance;  a dance they repeated at Monument Square and various other places during their walk to the Woodbury Center at the University of Southern Maine.  From 1:30 on until 4:00 pm, poems were read, tango dancing, prayers and other inspiring events filled an afternoon of dedication to raising awareness of the issue in Maine and across the world.

Reverend Christina Sillari of First Parish Unitarian Church, Congress Street said she participated  because:  “I believe in what they are dong around domestic violence.  Education is huge and so is  empowering women to speak out.”   Jacqui Deveneau participated because:  “..it is very important that women finally find their voices contrary to how we’ve been brought up.  We are the stronger of the two sexes.  We have been kept from knowing our own worth.  For years we have measured our worth by how males pereceive us.”

Organizer of the rally is professional photographer Robin Farrin.  Last fall she attended a “Women in Power Conference” in New York City.    That conference inspired Farrin to organize the Rally.  She was also inspired by the work of playwright Eve Ensler, creator of the “Vagina Monologues.” Farrin is an undergraduate candidate for a degree in womens’ studies at USM, Portland.

editor’s note:  Violence against Women is a timely subject since on Tuesday, the US Senate voted 78 – 22 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  The 22 dissenting votes came from Republicans. One of those 22 votes came from the obstreperous Senator Ted Cruz, Texas.  However, it is not clear that the US House will pass the same legislation because it has become more inclusive than previously.  According to an article posted on line on 2/12/13 in The Atlantic, written by Molly Bull, there are reasons for opposition by conservative groups:  “that the law is an unncessary overreach by the federal agovernment and it represents a feminist attack on family values.”

What do you think? 

Ensler’s books may be ordered through Longfellow Books, Monument Way.  772-4045.