Lake Worth is having a Valentine's Day event, but it won't be filled with the usual teddy bear, chocolate, pink overloaded celebration.
Instead, it will be a stand against domestic violence and a call to recognize basic human rights. At 2 p.m. in the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza, on Valentine’s Day, members of Empty Closet Women's Theater and One Billion Rising will partake in a flash mob. The event is not just occurring in Lake Worth, but is happening around the world.
The statistics of violence again women are staggering and appalling.
“According to the World Health Organization, globally 35 percent of women experience sexual violence in their life time. That is more than a billion human beings,” said Mildred Smith, founder of the Empty Closet Women’s Theater.
One Billion is classified as “the biggest mass action in human history.” It is a campaign that first took place on Valentine’s Day in 2012 and was started due to the horrifying statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be either raped or beaten in her life.
According to Smith, it was crystal clear that One Billion and Empty Closet Women's Theater should be combined to combat this.
“Our mission is to provide women with a forum to explore, develop and express their creativity,” she said. “From the beginning of our history, women have chosen to fulfill this mission by bringing awareness of social issues to the forefront through theatrical performances. Empty Closet Women's Theater is an all women volunteer organization. One Billion Rising is a women's issue, a women's cause. It made sense to us to join our voices with others involved in One Billion Rising.”
Smith became aware of One Billion as she was registering to manage a production of The Vagina Monologues. She discovered that Eve Ensler and her association had combined The Vagina Monologues and One Billion Rising solely as one campaign. According to Smith, creating a One Billion Rising event was not required.
“I saw it as an opportunity to further increase awareness of the issue of violence against women and girls, as does a production of The Vagina Monologues,” she said. “One Billion rising broadens our reach in raising awareness.”
Smith calls the women who participate in Empty Closet Women's Theater “nothing less than amazing.” She adds, “Each production has brought with it laughter and tears, forged new friendships help women to grow and heal, and delivered a message that needs to be heard to a broader audience of women and men. One Billion Rising and The Vagina Monologues is doing no less. We hope that people come out to see an amazing group of women perform this year. More importantly we hope that our audiences walk away with a better understanding and awareness of the need to stop the violence against women and girls.”