Miami Beach police detective Traci Sierra has seen a lot to anger and confound her in the 13 years she has worked in the violent crimes and domestic violence unit. Women who stay with husbands or boyfriends through years of beatings and abuse. Women who call police for help and then attack the officer arresting the man who was hurting them. Women afraid to stay, but even more afraid to leave. Women killed because they believe the man hurting them will stop on his own.
But Sierra takes heart from her occasional successes, like the young woman with a 2-year-old son who finally left her boyfriend after he beat her head against the floor so hard he split her forehead open. Sierra sat with her for two hours before the girl broke down crying, saying “I have to do something.’ ”
“You have to come to a breaking point,” Sierra says. “You have to say enough is enough. If no one takes a stand it continues. Until they address the situation and take control of their lives nothing’s going to change.”
On Thursday, Sierra and hundreds of other women in Miami-Dade will take a symbolic stand at the New World Center and Florida International University campus to say enough is enough. They are doing so as part of a global campaign called One Billion Rising, which aims to get a billion people — the number of women the United Nations estimates will be raped or assaulted in their lifetime — to take action with flash mobs, protests and dances.