KAPAA — Drums and dance music sounded at Kapaa Beach Park on Saturday as people across Kauai gathered for the YWCA’s annual event: One Billion Rising.
“This is really driven by our prevention work,” said YWCA Executive Director Renae Hamilton. “YWCA prevention, in terms of violence against women and children, are our core goals in terms of the work that we do on Kauai. It’s really important that we prevent this from happening. Being a part of this global movement of OBR is connecting us with the rest of the world as well.”
OBR is an annual festival of drumming and dancing held across the world to shine light on the abuse of women.
According to the YWCA website and statistics from the United Nations, one in three women will experience domestic or sexual abuse in her lifetime. When added together these numbers equal 1 billion women, hence the name of the movement.
“It’s really a movement to raise awareness about this issue but also just to come together in a creative and fun way, and show our support for those survivors around the world, and here on our island too, because as we know this is something that affects us here, even in Hawaii, even on Kauai,” said Chelsea Crapser, co-coordinator of OBR and the Prevention Educator at YWCA.
The festival kicked off at 11 a.m with a welcome by emcee Felicia Cowden and Hamilton, followed by taiko drumming by the group Joyful Noise, and perform-ances by the bands Soul Good Family and Minor Details.
The event also featured massages by the Golden Lotus Studios and many vendors such as the National Tropical Botanic Gardens, Da Kine Bakery, Hale Kipa and Malama Pono Health Services.
The highlight of the event was the “Break the Chain” live performance, which featured a flash mob dancing to symbolically end the chain of violence against women.
More than 100 people enjoyed the daylong festivities, including many men who agreed that violence against women needs to stop.
“I heard about it from close friends and it was pretty exciting when I heard exactly what it stood for and the meaning of it all and the fact that it was so national; such a widespread movement,” said Andrew Crahan, a member of the band Minor Details.
Robin Sanchez was another gentleman who seconded Crahan’s opinion.
“I feel for them,” said Sanchez. “It’s wrong for people to abuse women.”
Koloa resident Charis Olson agreed.
“I’m very against it,” said Olson about violence against women. “I’m totally against it, actually. One of my good friends has actually been in a situation like that. When I found out about it, that’s the whole reason why I came as well.”
In addition to speaking out against abuse, many women said they were pleased with the festivities and look forward to attending it again next year.
“It’s a really great way to bring people together to make them more aware. I really like that it’s part of a larger group outside of Kauai and Hawaii and so I really hope that it continues,” said Lihue resident Nicole Gaetjens.
Koloa resident Erikah Lastrapes agreed.
“Events like this especially show people that you’re not alone and that people are there to help you out and support you,” said Lastrapes.
“It’s good that all these companies and all these people who are supporting the event and everybody in the community can come back and show them ‘No, you have people that are going to help you get through it.’”
Founded in 1921 by Elsie Wilcox, Kauai’s YWCA performs counseling and crisis work for survivors of abuse, in addition to youth development programs and shelters for victims of domestic violence. The organization can be reached at 245-5959.