One in three women worldwide has been beaten, raped or otherwise violated. That's more than one billion women.
Let that sink in.
If it feels like you've been hearing a lot about violence against women lately, you probably have. It's been a problem forever, but the deadly gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in December brought hundreds of thousands into the streets and pushed awareness of this awful problem to global levels.
Now, as yet another tragic spasm of sexual violence surfaces, this time in South Africa, again a nation is shocked and forced to ask how such horrific things can happen. Much as it did in India, this incident seems to have broken through the political silence that has long shrouded South Africa's reputation as the global rape capital.
And across the world, people are asking: how do we stop this?
Want to do something about it?
Here's one way to start. This Valentine's Day, Thursday 14 February, citizens from around the world will take part in thousands of events as part of the One Billion Rising campaign. Inspired by Eve Ensler, author of the widely performed play the Vagina Monologues, women and men will be staging marches, dance parties, flash mobs and other public events to raise awareness about violence against women and say: "Enough!" Here's the One Billion Rising short film. [TRIGGER WARNING]
This isn't about politics or laws, although both will play a crucial role in breaking the chain of violence. This day is about celebrating, joining together and standing up to demand a better world.
Angry? Of course. Loud? You bet. Grieving for the victims? Certainly. But most of all, it's about rising with people all over the world and demanding simple respect and dignity for our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.
And it'll be fun, too. Here's Eve Ensler taking part in a flash mob at the European parliament in the lead-up to the big day:
With the global wave of anger and activism sparked from India, South Africa and elsewhere, it feels like we've reached a tipping point. Now we have a chance to make our grandchildren remember this as the moment in history where the world finally started to take violence against women seriously, across cultures and around the globe, and finally came to value and cherish half of humanity.
Join the party. Add your voice on 14 February. Strike. Dance. Rise.
Let's break the chain.
Look here to find a One Billion Rising event in your area, or to find out how to create your own – then spread the word by sharing this story with everyone and join the pledge below to end the global war on women.
Sources: United Nations, Avaaz, Voice of America, Washington Post, News24, Eve Ensler, One Billion Rising