RENO, NV - Chocolates, flowers and romantic dinners, for most of us Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate love. However for activists across the country, this is the time to speak out against domestic violence. Locally, a flash mob gathered at noon Friday in Downtown Reno to dance. Their goal is to call attention to the problem of physical and sexual violence against women.
Participants learned the dance moves weeks in advance by following a video on the internet. On February 14th, the dancing demonstration took place in nearly 200 countries. Local organizer Ben Felix of the Crisis Call center says the biggest challenge in stopping violence is the silence that surrounds it. "We respond to victims who have been assaulted and reported to law enforcement," says Felix "and we know that is only a tiny fraction of the assaults that are ongoing."
Organizers are calling the event "One Billion Rising". They say that one in every three women worldwide will be directly affected by violence, and with a world population of nearly seven billion, that number is upwards of one billion. Detective Sergeant Greta Woyciehowsky of the Sparks Police Department says knowing warning signs of an abusive relationship can be the key to protecting yourself. Spitting or throwing things can start before actual physical violence says Woyciehowsky. "It can be acts of control over your finances, who you can and can't see, whether you can or can not work, whether you can leave the house. Those are all signs of a domestic violence relationship," she says.
Those dealing with domestic violence or abuse are encourage to call the police or crisis call center for help. For additional information, check out the links below.