Central New Yorkers join 'One Billion Rising' movement to end domestic violence

Dan Cummings, Matt Mulcahy and Michael Benny speak at Vera House Silent Witness exhibit and news conference

Domestic violence is an issue that blurs all boundaries, and is an unfortunate, common thread among women all over the world.

Thursday is also Valentineâ??s Day, a day set apart to express your love and appreciation to those who you care about the most; the people who are a special and integral part of your life.

This Valentineâ??s Day, communities and people from across the globe celebrate this day of love by bringing awareness to the global problem that is domestic violence, and openly take a stand against it. If you notice people in the community wearing white ribbons, think of it as neighbors and friends raising a standard against domestic and sexual violence against women.

In Central New York, Vera House, Inc. and Manlius Pebble Hill School partnered to host a news conference in conjunction with One Billion Rising, an organization that aims to raise awareness of domestic and sexual violence against women.

The â??Silent Witnessâ?? exhibit, developed by the Junior League of Syracuse as a joint initiative with Vera House, has family members standing next to a panel of silhouettes, each one representing a local victim whose life was claimed by domestic violence.

Joining the Vera House, Manlius Pebble Hill and One Billion Rising are the 2013 White Ribbon Honorary Chairs; George Kilpatrick, Vera Houseâ??s Menâ??s Outreach Program Coordinator, CNY Centralâ??s Michael Benny and Matt Mulcahy, and NewsChannel 9â??s Dan Cummings. The honorary chairs all spoke at the event.

Designworks Advertising premiered a video of 17 local men reading Eve Enslerâ??s â??Man Prayer,â?? which is a call for men of all backgrounds and creeds to break the cycle of violence by recognizing stereotypes of manhood and choosing a different path. The original video released by One Billion Rising and showcases men of all ages and backgrounds choosing to deny what society expects them to do and be.

One in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. Thatâ??s one billion victims of violence, and One Billion Rising seeks to counter that number with one of their own; one billion women dancing, singing and standing up to demand an end to domestic violence.

There were also two events at Syracuse University today, referred to as SU Rising, that brought awareness to the same issue of violence, but through the scope of an open dialogue. The

community talk

featured remarks from several professors and professionals on the issue of violence and how to combat it. The event will culminate with everyone joining in the One Billion Rising dance, signifying solidarity.

Tonight, the campus and community will hold a candlelight vigil on the steps of the chapel to remember and honor victims and survivors of violence. The vigil will be preceded by performances in the chapel by SU Zinda and Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Joanne Shenandoah.