Sidmouth dance teacher to lead flashmob in mass protest against violence towards women

Johanna Morgan

Johanna Morgan - Credit: Kyle Baker Photography

Call on whole community to get involved in stamping out abuse and exploitation of women

Dancer and policewoman at previous One Billion Rising event

Dancer and policewoman at previous One Billion Rising event - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth dance instructor will lead a flashmob protest against the abuse and exploitation of women next month.

Zumba teacher Johanna Morgan is set to start the sequence in the centre of Exeter on Saturday, February 18, as part of an international campaign to raise awareness of and stamp out domestic violence

Men, women and children are all invited to join in the dance which will take place twice in Princesshay’s Bedford Square at approximately 2.30pm and 3.15pm.

The flashmob is being organised by the city’s Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE) charity as part of the international One Billion Rising campaign - described as the biggest mass action to end men’s violence against women in history.

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The campaign started in 2012 in response to the shocking statistic that one in three females in the world – amounting to one billion - will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

Johanna, of JM DanceFit, said: “I am really pleased to be supporting SAFE by participating in this very important and meaningful event which aims to help change lives.

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“We have been learning the flashmob moves in our Zumba classes which are held throughout Devon and are hoping that additional members of the community will come together and take part in the event.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. We hope to see you soon.”

The dance instructor will begin the choreographed moves and will gradually be joined by dozens more dancers performing to the protest song Break the Chain.

The performance will mark a first for SAFE which has supported the international campaign in previous years but never organised anything on this scale.

The charity says the aim is not only to support the international campaign, but also to raise awareness of the alarming levels of male violence against women in Devon and in the UK as a whole.

SAFE’s chief executive, Jacinta Wainwright, said: “Men’s violence against women is perhaps the most serious problem we face, yet it often goes unrecognised, and not nearly enough is being done about it.

“SAFE would like to call upon the men in our community, who for the most part don’t see themselves as part of the problem, to get informed, get involved, and become part of the solution.

“Violence against women is not just a women’s issue – it is also a men’s issue and a community issue. 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.”

Dancers are aksed to wear red in a show of solidarity.

There will be a practice session at St Sidwell’s Community Centre, Exeter, from 12.30pm to 2pm.

Or, participants can learn the dance at home - a breakdown of the steps can be found on YouTube: v=mRU1xmBwUeA

The event will also feature speakers and the chance to find out more about SAFE’s work, as well of that of Devon Rape Crisis which is also supporting the campaign.

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