Valentine's Day flash mob in Prague to rise up against violence

A Feb. 14 flash mob devoted to raising awareness of violence against women returns to Palackého Náměstí following a five-year absence. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.02.2024 14:45:00 (updated on 13.02.2024) Reading time: 1 minute

Prague is set to join the global campaign One Billion Rising on Valentine's Day, raising awareness of violence targeting women worldwide.

The annual flash mob in the Czech Republic takes on greater significance this year following the Senate's rejection of the Istanbul Convention last month. Only 34 of 71 senators supported ratifying the Europe-wide pact to prevent domestic violence.

The rejection of the Convention has been called an "international disgrace," with opponents raising concerns about societal impacts, citing deficiencies in the aid system for domestic violence victims.

Organizers of the One Billion Rising project, which has worked with the Czech Women's Lobby and associated groups decried the decision, noting it sidelines the Czech Republic on key protections for victims. They argue it underscores the disproportionate risks women still face from harassment, assault, and domestic abuse.

In 2013, One Billion Rising launched worldwide dance protests on Feb. 14 to highlight statistics showing one in three women experience violence. Now a tradition at Palackého Náměstí, the simultaneous performance aims to show solidarity with victims.

Led for 11 years by Prague-based activist Gail Whitmore, Whitmore passes the torch to the younger generation this year. Atreyu Whitmore Steffensen hopes the participation of British Scout leaders, as well as families and people in their teens, will bring a new generation to the campaign, which also supports gender-diverse people. 

"Growing up watching my mother, along with all the strong, powerful women who have come together over the years to host the risings here in our beautiful city of Prague, has inspired me to want to work just as hard to help end this ongoing violence. I am proud to bring back One Billion Rising to Prague after the event has been dormant for five years. Rise up!" says Steffensen.

Participants are invited to gather at 6:30 p.m. to take a collective stand against the threats so many women still confront, organizers say.

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