Hundreds turned out to demonstrate a different kind of love and commitment to women this Valentine's Day in Abbotsford.
At noon, near 200 people attended the One Billion Rising event in Jubilee park as part of a worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls locally and globally.
Michele Giordano, co-coordinator of the Abbotsford Warm Zone for at-risk women, said fear about speaking up about violence against women must end.
"Today we stand in solidarity with One Billion Rising to shake the world into consciousness that violence is silence," said Giordano.
"I am rising because the violence needs to stop."
Giordano referred to the recent examples of Abbotsford women who had suffered violence.
She talked of mother-of-two Leanne Friesen, 40, who was shot to death last week and whose estranged husband has been charged with second-degree murder.
And of the 17-year-old girl sexually assaulted of Feb. 6. and of repeat offender, Anton Foulds, who has been charged in the attack.
She also talked of the fear and shame two alleged victims are experiencing at the thought of testifying at the ongoing trial of Abbotsford Hindu priest Karam Vir who is charged with sexual offences.
Giordano urged the crowd not to tolerate and to report violence against woman and to educate young people to prevent them from being victims of the crime.
"It's time to rise up because one out of every three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime," she said.
Jean Douglas Webb, organizer of the Abbotsford One Billion Rising rally, said the response to the movement has been "amazing."
"I did this because I've had enough of violence against women and girls," said the retiree.
"I want the world to be safe for my grandchildren."
Seanna Snyder, a Grade 9 student at W.J. Mouat, missed class to attend the rally because she thought it was important.
"It's a good cause," said the 14-year-old.
"It's good for the community, spreading knowledge of what's going on that can't be ignored."
A number of organizations turned out for the event including the GirlKind Foundation, the Women's Resource Society of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Community Services, the University of the Fraser Valley, the Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition and 5 and 2 Ministries Abbotsford.
Speakers also addressed the topics of gendercide, the trafficking of youth, and child sexual abuse images.
But the event also took the time to celebrate love, solidarity and empowerment with music, costumes and dancing.
Dozens of people decked out in Valentine's Day red participated in a flash mob dance routine under the park's trees.
Webb said she was thrilled with the response and help she got from other volunteers and community organizations.
"I just feel like today is the beginning of a change," she said.
"Tomorrow we'll wake up to a changing world."