Protesters dance at State Capitol to end domestic violence

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AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — On Tuesday, dozens of Texans danced on the State Capitol lawn calling for an end to sexual violence against women.

“It happens throughout the world, every year on Valentine’s Day women across the globe come out into the streets and dance and kind of protest the epidemic proportions of violence against women that are happening,” Maisha Barrett, one of the Austin event’s organizers said.

It’s part of the global campaign, “One Billion Rising.”

The movement is based on the statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

“Dancing is sort of a way of reclaiming our bodies. Dancing is a way of moving the trauma that a lot of us have experienced out of our bodies,” Barrett said. “And still have the capacity to feel joy even though we are facing something that is really horrific.”

Barrett organized the Austin gathering with the help of Lisa Pous and Christina Carney. They say the purpose is to make the subject more comfortable for people to talk about.

“We would like to see the violence end,” Pous said. “We wanted to touch in with the energy around the world of women and their allies rising everywhere, in places they can get killed for dancing or any body expression, so that was important to us.”

Pous, along with many of Tuesday’s protesters, were victims of domestic violence.

“I’m a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, childhood sexual assault and trafficking,” Pous said. “And the thing I found that heals us deepest is coming together and sharing our truth.”

According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), 33 percent of all Texans experience sexual assault in their lifetime — that’s roughly 6.3 million people.

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