Global activism reigns on campus when world-wide event comes to college
The crowd gathers in front of the Putnam Science Center to hear sophomore Hersch Rothmel recite Eve Ensler’s monologue “Over It,” showing Ensler’s feelings towards domestic and gender violence.
On Feb. 14, people from the Monadnock region and Keene State College came to the event called “One Billion Rising” to march up and down Appian Way. The event was put on by Rothmel to help spread awareness about domestic and gender violence. The march began on Oya Hill with the sound of drums, then soon moved up and back down Appian Way, through the L.P. Young Student Center, and ended in front of the Mason Library. According to Rothmel, “One Billion Rising” went on all over the world on Feb. 14 to create better awareness of the cause. “We are a small unit in this whole unit of global activism,” Rothmel said.
Rothmel brought up the idea of bringing “One Billion Rising” to KSC. He was part of the V-Day (V stands for vagina) team and thought that this would be a great event to tie the week together. “I was part of this team who was doing different things with the ‘Vagina Monologues’ and then I was the one who coordinated this specific event within this week,” Rothmel said.
Rothmel said he found out about this event through Facebook and brought it up to the group Mentors in Violence Protection (MVP), a group on campus that is an extension of the Counseling Center.
“What I really want people to get out of this event is an idea of, in general, activism,” Rothmel said.
“It [“One Billion Rising”] puts it [domestic and gender violence awareness] out there,” senior Katrina Baumgartner said, “I mean, dancing, making a ruckus, making a noise just draws attention to it.”
Baumgartner, an intern at the Monadnock Center for Violence Protection, said that she hopes it makes people ask questions about why this event is going on and to look further into domestic and gender violence.
“I really love that it’s using dancing, really using your body, accepting your body, taking up the space around you and women need to take up the space around them,” Baumgartner said.
On the “One Billion Rising” website, there is information and videos taken from places ranging from New York City, N.Y. to Khartoum, Sudan, and from the City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo to New Delhi, India.
This was a global event that took place on Feb. 14 to raise awareness of domestic, sexual and gender violence and to celebrate life.
The MCVP covers the Monadnock region for domestic and sexual violence. The staff provides counseling, emergency shelter, education on domestic and sexual violence, support groups, court advocacies, and a 24-hour crisis helpline for anyone who needs it.
Robin Christopherson, director of MCVP, also attended the event. She said that she was “thrilled” about “One Billion Rising” coming to the KSC campus. She also said that it is nice to have a “catalyst” (MVP) on campus, as well.
“I think that it’s excellent. The timing is very important right now,” Christopherson said, “I think where we’ve come off of a period of time that has seemed that we’ve transgressed back into the ‘70s and ‘80s idea of who women are in our society and gender stereotypes and a lot of myths about sexual violence and violence against women.”
According to sophomore Sarah Croitoru, “Gender violence is a pervasive issue that needs to be addressed in our country and has been sidelined all too often.”
She continued, “Everybody knows somebody.” Croitoru was happy to see the campus coming together to help raise awareness for domestic and gender violence.
“It [“One Billion Rising”] raises awareness and it makes it visible even if it’s just for a short period of time,” Croitoru said. She continued, “There were people who were watching, people who stopped and took pictures with their phones so it makes it visible and talked about.”
According to Rothmel, “There’s a lot being done [about domestic and gender violence awareness], especially with MVP, the Counseling Center does a lot, the administration is invested in changing policies.” Croitoru said that she finds that it is very effective for MVP to promote events on MyKSC, yet they are the only program on campus that she has heard about.
“I still think that as a campus community I think that rape culture is more or less seen as not a non-issue,” Rothmel said.
“Right now there’s room for improvement but I think Keene State [College] has really embraced this,” Christopherson said. Baumgartner said that every person has the right to feel safe and that the violence against women needs to stop. “Domestic violence shouldn’t be a closed door situation. We need to talk about it. It needs to be out in the open if we’re going to end it,” Baumgartner said.
“I want people to realize that women’s issues aren’t just women’s issues, it’s a human issue, it’s a people issue,” Rothmel said.
Christopherson said, “If you have people who are committed, dedicated to do this work, that’s what’s important. I think it [“One Billion Rising”] was a great start.”
Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at