Today is V-Day. Put away the candy hearts, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day. This is a different V-Day.

V-Day was created on Valentine’s Day in 1998, with a mission to end violence against women and girls worldwide. The United Nations estimates that 1 of every 3 women in the world – one billion women – will personally experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

Whether perpetuated by a stranger, spouse, partner, or other individual, violence or the threat of violence causes many women to lose the ability to control their own reproductive health and plan their families. Sexual assault can lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Women who experience violence in relationships may also have less room to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners.

Last year, on its 15th anniversary, V-Day launched the One Billion Rising campaign, asking one billion people around the world to rise up and demand an end to violence. See the must-watch video above for the inspiring results, and click here to find a V-Day 2014 event near you.

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