Flash mob raises awareness about domestic violence

One Billion Rising is global movement against domestic violence

A movement to end domestic violence has people moving to music around the globe.

Already flash mobs have popped up in India, Brazil and New Zealand, and on Thursday, the event came to Madison.

Flash mob raises awareness about domestic violence

They’re part of “One Billion Rising,” a call to action based on the fact that 1 billion women worldwide will be abused in their lifetime.

A boombox and interpretative dancers breathed sudden life into the usually quiet Hilldale Mall on Thursday, and the flash mob was over just as quickly. But it grabbed people’s attention, as have recent news headlines about domestic violence incidents.

On Thursday, South African’s beloved Olympian nicknamed “Blade Runner” was arrested, accused of shooting his girlfriend to death. In India, five men accused of gang-raping a woman who would die from her injuries are on trial.

Organizers said the flash mob at Hilldale Mall is bringing awareness to domestic violence that knows no borders.

“It’s what I do on a daily basis and it’s my way of healing after the loss of my sister Tracy and my niece Deja,” said Lisa Blanchard, who usually speaks out about the 2009 Madison slayings, but silently stood watching the flash mob.

“I just to come and show my support with everything we’ve been through and to kind of give back support I’ve received,” Blanchard said.

Another woman and her daughter died that day before the killer shot himself.

In January, a Madison husband killed his wife and then himself the night before they were set to finalize their divorce in Dane County court.

Flash mob raises awareness about domestic violence

“Maybe because it’s so ubiquitous we don’t think about it as much because it has become so commonplace, but we need to really rattle our cages,” said Patti Seger, executive director of Wisconsin’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The worldwide dancing is doing just that. One Billion Rising may be just a day-long movement, but it has a lifelong goal — “a way to draw attention and celebrate the positive empowerment of women and girls and to not see us as victims, but as survivors,” Seger said.


One Billion Rising is a first-of-its-kind event. And while most of the day’s events are over, people can still sign up for next year, volunteer their services or donate to local agencies that help domestic violence victims.