PAU Violence Kauai raises awareness with flash mob

PUHI — Elvrine Chow of Heavenly Haku scratched her head Saturday, trying to figure out the appearance of a group of pink-clad women carrying pink balloons at the Kauai Community Market.

Hosted by the Prevention, Awareness and Understanding Violence Kauai, the women broke into dance with music from a portable public address system led by Polina Goudkova of Russia via Canada.

“How cool is that?” Chow asked. “And they are raising awareness about violence against women. This is great.”

The PAU Violence Kauai flash mob joined an international movement, One Billion Rising for Justice, to end violence against women. The movement is a dance revolution to raise awareness about interpersonal violence and calls for people to stand up, dance and rise.

“The PAU Violence Kauai members and friends will be performing the One Billion Rising for Justice dance,” said Diane Higa of PAU Violence. “The United Nations has estimated that one in every three women will be raped or sexually assaulted during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion people, this amounts to more than 1 billion women and girls. After being launched on Valentine’s Day in 2012, this dance is performed annually in all parts of the United States, and on all seven continents to bring awareness to stop violence against women.”

The One Billion Rising website states that “we rise through dance to express joy and community, and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness — one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.”

Market coordinator Melissa McFerrin-Warrack was excited about the unexpected addition to the market.

“This is just one more thing that makes the market exciting,” McFerrin-Warrack said. “We already have the ticket sales for the American Culinary Federation Breakfast which is attracting a lot of attention, and there is the electric car displays for the free test drive next weekend coordinated through the Kauai Electric Vehicle coalition and the Blue Planet Foundation.”

Goudkova, the dance leader, felt the impromptu gathering was effective in raising awareness about the One Billing Rising cause.

“I met a lady who sings with me in the church choir,” Goudkova said. “She said, ‘Maybe next year, we can get the choir to sing the One Billion Rising song.’”

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