The statistics are grim: One in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Sisters, mothers, daughters, nieces, wives, friends.

One in three, says a 2003 report by the United Nations Women's Development Fund.

In an international show of support to women, and a call to end the violence, Tucson, Green Valley and the University of Arizona are joining "One Billion Rising" on Thursday. The event was started by Eve Ensler, the Tony Award-winning author of "The Vagina Monologues," and has spread around the world.

"This is simple," said Ann Lovell, who is organizing the UA gathering. "It's not political, and it's not fundraising." Instead, it's "a time for all of us to get together to say no."

The goal is to have 1 billion women, and their supporters and loved ones, rise up dancing and singing to "shake the world, empower women and girls, and break cycles of violence." The name was chosen because roughly 1 billion women worldwide will experience sexual or physical assault in her lifetime.

"It seems such a perfect way of bringing the community together and connecting with the rest of the world in saying, 'This is enough,'" Lovell said. "

Some participants are rising to end female genital mutilation. Others want to support a friend or family member who has survived rape or physical assault. Others are remembering a loved one who was murdered by a domestic partner.

"If we all stand up and speak out, we can change the world," said Sarah Jones, CEO of Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse.

Tucsonan Julie Soto is a rape survivor who hopes to attend one of the local events. Soto, 51, was sexually assaulted two years ago and has found "tremendous support" through the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault.

"I don't think I could have made it without them," she said. While survivors can withhold their names in Arizona Daily Star articles, Soto said she wanted to use hers to speak out.

"If I can help somebody by sharing what I have experienced, then I am going to say it," she said.

Montserrat Caballero is organizing Tucson's clothesline project, which she said is like "airing dirty laundry" about violence and abuse against women.

"We create T-shirts and hang them on a clothesline to expose what's going on," she said. "It's very visual, and it's a very moving experience for people. There are some really powerful messages on these T-shirts."

Lovell said people who can't attend a local event can stage their own.

"You and your 10 friends can get up and dance at two in the afternoon," she said. "Anybody can do a rising."

"If I can help somebody by sharing what I have experienced, then I am going to say it."

Julie Soto,

A rape survivor

If you go

The public is invited to the following local events Thursday:

• Gather at noon in front of Pima County Consolidated Justice Court, 115 N. Church Ave., to create a living clothesline of T-shirts with messages about ending abuse and violence. Participants will walk to City Hall to display the shirts.

• Gather at 5 p.m. on the University of Arizona Mall, 1401 E. University Blvd., for a dance celebration.

• In Green Valley, meet at 10 a.m. on the corner of West Esperanza Boulevard and South La Cañada Drive to walk, talk and dance.

To learn more about One Billion Rising, log on at

Contact reporter Patty Machelor at 806-7754 or