It's V-Day Until The Violence Stops
Playwright and activist, Eve Ensler, has transformed her play The Vagina Monologues and Valentine's Day into tools to raise awareness and funds to help end violence against women around the globe.
The 2009 V-Day spotlight campaign is "Stop raping out greatest resource: power to the women and girls of Democratic Republic of Congo." From the VDAY site I learn that "the war has left 5.4 million Congolese dead and 200,000 women raped." The VDAY site also has background on the history and aftermath of sexual violence in the DRC:
All armed groups involved in the conflict have perpetrated sexual violence. Today, several armed groups still use sexual violence as a weapon of war in the DRC.1 Further, international actors, including UN personnel, have been implicated in perpetrating sexual violence in the DRC.2 Armed actors systematically violate women and girls in the streets, fields, and homes.3 The armed actors in the DRC have perpetrated gender-based violence through various forms, including sexual slavery, kidnapping, forced recruitment, forced prostitution, and rape. The Congolese victims of sexual violence include men and boys, who have also suffered rape, sexual humiliation, and genital mutilation.4...
Many survivors of sexual violence suffer from grave long-term psychological and physical health consequences, such as traumatic fistula and HIV. However, health infrastructure in the DRC is almost entirely absent. Shortage of medical services is particularly critical given the prevalence of sexually-transmitted infections and HIV among soldiers and irregular combatants. 6
As part of the 2009 V-Day efforts, Eve Ensler is on a "Turning Pain To Power" speaking tour with Congolese gynecologist, Dr. Denis Mukewege who founded one of the few hospitals that treat victims of rape and mutilation.
One of the greatest aspects of the V-Day campaign, however, is that it is not just Eve Ensler speaking and sharing stories. There are so many ways for everyone to get involved and actively participate in bringing about an end to violence:
- Host a Congo teach-in
- Encourage your church to participate in the Congo Sabbath Initiative
- Read the V-Men Coumnn which shares the perspective of fathers, sons and brothers
- Host or attend a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues
- Urge your Congressperson to support the International Violence Against Women Act
There are so many ways to get involved even if it is just raising your own awareness of the issues facing women at home and around the world. How will you celebrate V-Day?
Additional Reading and Resources:
VDAY: A Global Movement To End Violence Against Women And Girls
Marianne Schnall at The Women's Media Center Majority Post: Turning Pain to Power
Women's e-News: V-Day Spotlights Congolese Women Torn by War
Marlo Thomas at WOWOWOW: Eve Ensler to Marlo Thomas: 'Rape Is Cheap Warfare'
Amanda Eggert at Montana Kaimin: Vagina Monologues plays V-Day in the University Theatre
Affrodite's Adventures In Nappy Hair: Eve Ensler The Vagina Monologues fans. YYP Honors V-Day with In Love We Trust Tour featuring all black celebrity cast.
This year, YYP (Yetta Young Productions) is honoring V-Day with a tour called In Love We Trust featuring an all black cast. In Love We Trust includes 2 perspectives for the first time ever onstage- from women and men. In addition to a performance of The Vagina Monologues, Yetta Young has partnered with Peter J. Harris to bring to us The Johnson Chronicles.
Dead Reformer at The Chicago Seminarian: Vagina Monologues at the Hyde Park Seminaries 2/20-21
This is a production begun by Hyde Park Seminarians who felt particularly called to speak out about social justice for women as a part of their faith. This particular production of the Monologues is unique in that it incorporates a reflective tone that asks the audience critical questions about society, about themselves, about their faith or non-belief, and about the production itself. Dialogue and reflection is key to the model of this production, but so is an honest celebration of womanhood, and honoring the testimony of the diverse voices in the Monologues themselves.
Recovering Straight Girl: VD:
See the show, give money to VDay or to a domestic violence center in your area. Here in Portland the Portland Women’s Crisis Line isn’t able to serve all of the women in Portland who need their help. They can’t do this because of lack of funding and resources. Everyday ordinary people can make a difference by contributing to organizations like these that are lifelines to millions of women every year. No one should have to stay in an un-safe situation because there is no where to go. Supporting an organization like this benefits everyone.
Appetite For Equal Rights: A Blog For The Modern Feminist: Celebrating a feminist Valentine's Day:
take a few minutes to do something to fight violence against women, even if it's just reading a little bit about the Congo and better educating yourself
Quinn at Life with Vulvodynia: V Day:
Every year at my college the women's group performed the Vagina Monologues on Valentine's Day weekend. My senior year I got on board and performed My Short Skirt in the production. It was a lot of fun.
So on Saturday, instead of whispering sweet nothings into your honey's ear. Take a moment to talk to someone you know about your muff and, more importantly, your pelvic pain. It's time to give V Day a whole new meaning.
Sarah Seltzer at RH Reality Check:
What's with Eve Ensler's "V-day?" Why do we have to talk about violence against women on Valentine's Day? And why do I have to suffer through a play every year where I listen to the word "vagina" shouted loudly hundreds of times? That's just gross.
- Boorish Ben in Boise
Well Ben, for a lot of women in the world - many of whom are our neighbors and friends-the idea of romance is far from their reality because they have few rights and protections from sexual violence. For many women who are living comfortably, Ensler's quest to turn V-Day into a day of solidarity and sisterhood has really hit home. Ensler and others believe that until all women are given equal rights and control over their own bodies and sexuality, ideal romance remains somewhat out of reach. So in other words, by granting women equal rights and fighting against the too-routine abuse of women, we're also paving the way for more romance in the world - the kind of romance that comes from two equals being attracted and interested in each other and free to pursue that interest.
Read the rest of "Dear Gabby's" V-Day Advice
BlogHer CE Maria Niles can also be found blogging at her personal blog PopConsumer