Using body art and dance to promote healthy relationships

 A prize-winning young Devon body art painter Milena Watts created a human work of art in Exeter over weekend as part of this year’s One Billion Rising events. This years events focused on promoting healthy relationships for young people. Sadly, young people  aged 16 to 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing abuse within a relationship.

Milena pained a heart on her model, Dan, depicting aspects of a healthy relationship. Milena, who won first prize at last year’s Devon Body Art Exhibition in Exmouth, said;

 “Abusive relationships are such a real and serious problem in society, and having the opportunity to use my skills to help bring awareness to the issue is a fantastic thing for me to be able to do.

 “I’m fortunate enough to be in a comfortable and loving relationship and I believe it’s extremely important to spread the word that if someone doesn’t feel comfortable and safe around their significant other, then something is very wrong and they should seek help.”

     

SAFE organises events supporting One Billion Rising each year around Valentines Day in support of the international campaign but also to raise awareness of the high levels of male violence against women in Exeter, across Devon and in the UK as a whole. We are keen to move the focus away from ‘women as victims’ and encourage the belief that men’s violence against women is a problem facing society as a whole – with men also as part of the solution.

 SAFE’s Chief Executive, Jacinta Wainwright, said: “Men’s violence against women is preventable if we work together. We believe there are huge benefits for men in supporting the prevention of violence and achieving equality.”

 As in past years, SAFE also organised a series of flashmob dances in Exeter city centre. Dancing to the song Break and in Cathedral Green. More on this in a later blog.

One Billion Rising has been described as the biggest mass action to end men’s violence against women in human history. The campaign began in 2012 as a call to action based on the shocking statistic that one in three women in the world – amounting to a billion - will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. Every February, campaigners in hundreds of countries ‘rise’ to show their local communities and the world as a whole what one billion looks like and shine a light on the injustice often faced by survivors. But they also ‘rise’ to show that they have not been defeated by this violence and are determined to create a new consciousness in which the abuse of women is no longer tolerated.

For more information on the One Billion rising campaign please visit the official website http://www.onebillionrising.org/