On Wednesday Valentini with her friend Triziana Beltrami of Karen Blixen and other Italian women in Malindi engaged schools, cultural groups led by Malindi District cultural Association (MADCA) and other Non-Governmental organizations championing against gender based violence to mark the 1 billion strong celebrations which is celebrated worldwide each year during the valentine day.
They converged at the Karen Blixen restaurant Malindi wearing red and black ribbons carrying placards with messages ‘1 in three women you love raped or beaten in her lifetime,’ ‘We are mothers we are teachers, we are beautiful creatures,’ ‘ every two minutes in the world a woman is sexually assaulted,’ ‘I rise for the 1 million girls who entre the sex trade each year.’
Other placards read ‘this is my body my body is Holy,’ ‘No more rape or incest or abuse women are not a possession,’ among others.
Bertani led the women ,girls and even men both locals and foreigners in a colorful performance of the 1 billion rising song which is meant to sensitize the world to stop violence against women and girls.
In an interview after the celebrations Valentini and Bertani said their aim is to reach out to 1000 women and girls next year in Malindi alone so as to increase more awareness on the campaign against gender based violence.
Valentini said a lot of people have shown interest in joining their campaign adding that schools were also responding positively to their talks which have helped them be aware of their rights.
“Our aim is to let men who want to be violent on their women know that they are not alone, to show the world that we are strong,’’ she said.
She said some women suffer alone and never report the gender based violence cases to the relevant departments for action due to cultural beliefs that they are weaker beings.
Simona Sabatini from Watoto Kenya an organization that has been championing for children’s rights in Kenya for the last 15 years said their aim was to raise the voice against gender based violence.
“I have witnessed early marriages, pregnancies, abuse of the girl child , we are campaigning to reduce the menace through the 1 billion rising to reach I billion people worldwide,’’ she said.
Teachers who spoke said the 1 billion rising campaign had really helped to sensitize both parents and pupils on the importance of ending gender based violence.