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One Billion Rising: 'It's Like a Feminist Tsunami'

Flashmobs in Mogadishu, marches in the Isle of Bute and mass rallies in India.

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Much of the effort in the UK has been concentrated on changing sex education in schools to embrace relationships and violence. A cross-party group including Labour MP Stella Creasy and Conservative MP Amber Rudd is hoping for parliamentary time on 14 February to vote on making "personal, social and health education a requirement in schools, including a zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships".

Efforts to get the government to recognise the campaign itself have so far failed to gain much ground. In the  latest parliamentary debate, foreign office minister Hugo Swire restricted himself to pointing out that the government took such violence seriously and warned women to be careful when going abroad.

In the US, veteran campaigner Pat Reuss is also hoping to use support for OBR in every state to resuscitate the  Violence Against Women Act that provides protection for victims, yet which Congress failed to reauthorise last year.

When asked which country she has been most amazed by, Ensler rattles off a list of action – from those protesting against sex trafficking in Mexico to mass activity in the Philippines. She adds that the 50 cities preparing events in Italy took her by surprise. "That was a real turning point for me," she says. "Fifty cities in Italy!"

Campaigners are already wondering what will happen after V-day. "The dancing will be amazing but more important is what's happening to move violence against women to the forefront of the agenda," says Ensler. "It will never be a marginalised issue again ... At this point it really feels like a wave with a life of its own."

© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited
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