Our mission is to help prevent one billion attacks on women and girls, with a focus on developing countries, by helping them speak up, stand tall and know they are
STRONGER THAN THEY THINK.

The Man Behind the Movement

My name is Patrick William Moore and I am the founder of One Billion Stronger. Many people ask why, especially as a man, I have personally decided to help prevent oppression against women and girls.

 

This is my story.

 

Twenty years ago I turned my back on a law degree to work as a stuntman in the movies, as one does, after I was inspired by watching that great Shakespearean classic film, Die Hard. (yep, the original – not Die Hard 2, 3, 4, 5..)

 

I sat in the movie theater for a full half hour after the film ended, watching the stunt credits, and decided that I too wanted to jump off buildings and be set on fire for a living.

 

Living out my boyhood fantasy to work in action movies meant I had to learn martial arts and before long I found myself teaching self-defence to schools and groups between film jobs. I began running training and fitness classes called Boxout, in a dusty old boxing gym where the yellowing fight posters are peeling off the walls. Of the ten thousand or so students I have trained in the past 20 years, 75% are women. For these women, Boxout is much more than a fitness session.  It is about getting on the front foot to deal with fear, fitness and life – turning obstacles into opportunities.  Everyone has a plan until they get hit, but going down doesn’t mean staying down. We can turn our setbacks into comebacks.

 

Women are not expected to be able to throw a punch or a kick or even be strong, and some members of society do not like the fact that women can be empowered this way. However, every time a woman in that dusty old gym walked up the 3 little steps, climbed through the ropes, and stepped into the boxing ring to do a round on the pads, something special happened to her spirit. She started feeling stronger, more empowered, and more capable of dealing with life.

 

Boxing became a metaphor for female strength. Getting on the front foot meant refusing to be a victim of conflict or in life. With their voice, body and intuition, and getting on the front foot, all these women have the strength they need to speak up and stand tall. Many of them started martial arts and boxing training to get their power back – not just physically, but mentally, verbally and emotionally.

The Wake Up Call

One day I was at a high school teaching one of my workshops and some teenage girls were sharing stories. One of them – whom I will call Courtney – described how she had been assaulted in the middle of the day, in the middle of a supermarket – and she just froze. This happened in an affluent part of Sydney, Australia.

 

It made me realise what so many women and girls face every day, no matter where they are live in the world. According to the United Nations, one in 3 women globally will become a victim of sexual or physical violence in their life. That’s one billion women and girls.

 

Violence can happen to anyone, and be committed by anyone, and One Billion Stronger is against all violence, carried out towards anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender. However, women and girls, especially because of their gender, are victims of a wide range of heinous crimes ranging from acid attacks, honor killings, trafficking and, of course, incomprehensible levels of sexual assault and harassment both inside and outside the home. For example, many women have been “touched up” on a crowded train. In India they even have a special name for it – they call it “Eve Teasing.”

 

It was in 2011 when I first heard that a woman in South Africa gets raped every 27 seconds. I decided that was the place to start.

 

I flew to South Africa, visited townships, and ran some street workshops there. Could the front foot formula we developed in that dusty boxing gym be bottled somehow, and help women in developing countries to prevent violence and abuse? So far, the answer has been yes. A billion times yes.

 

Since that first trip to South Africa, One Billion Stronger has also visited Nepal, Indonesia, Singapore, as well as Aboriginal communities in outback Australia. In April 2013, we embarked on an epic trip to India where we ran workshops for over 10,000 women and girls.

We are happy to announce One Billion Stronger will be embarking on a new tour in India this year.

 

Visit our India 2014 project page for more information.

More About Moore

For more information on Patrick William Moore, self defence coach and author and founder of One Billion Stronger, click on the image below or follow this link.

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