Flash Mob protest set today

STEUBENVILLE – Activists from the anti-women’s violence group V-Day Akron plan to join other protesters in a flash mob protest set for this afternoon in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The flash mob, part of One Billion Rising, is to protest the alleged rape of a teenage girl by Steubenville High School student-athletes, which allegedly occurred Aug. 11-12.

Three protests since late December organized by the Internet hactivist group Anonymous at the courthouse already have occurred protesting the lack of prosecution of any others for the alleged rape.

Trent Mays, 16, of Bloomingdale, and Malik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville are slated to stand trial on March 13 for the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old Weirton girl. The case is being prosecuted by the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and heard by visiting Judge Tom Lipps.

In a press release, members of V-Day Akron said they were protesting the alleged rape and lack of prosecution of others, and they would perform a flash mob dance in support of the alleged victim Thursday.

“In planning how to participate in One Billion Rising, we knew we could not ignore the horrific events that took place in our home state and the resulting coverup,” said Deb Lemire, organizer of V-Day Akron. “We’re outraged that witnesses posted photos and videos of the attack and tweeted jokes while doing nothing to stop it.” As of Tuesday, nearly 90 individuals on a Facebook.com invite page had committed to attending the flash mob protest, which is billed as the “Break the Chain One Billion Rising Dance,” stated the release. The dance moves may be learned by visiting www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingSteubenville.

According to the release, One Billion Rising recalls a statistic that one in three women worldwide will be beaten or raped during her lifetime, and with the world’s population nearing 7 billion that equals 1 billion women, according to the release.

“When we started V-Day 14 years ago we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said Eve Ensler, founder and playwright. “Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign. When we come together (Thursday) to demand an end to violence against women and girls, it will truly be a global voice that will rise up.”

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through plays, performances and more, according to the release. Ensler is creator of the play “The Vagina Monologues.”

The V-Day movement has raised more than $90 million in funds for creation of more than 14,000 women’s anti-violence educational programs, safe houses and other activist events, according to the release.

More on One Billion Rising and V-Day can be found at www.vday.org.