Voice for Vaginas

By Claire Wilson ‘13 Staff Writer

One in every three women will be physically or sexually abused her lifetime (Feb. 28 2000 UN Commission on the Status of Women). Violence against women transcends borders and is a desecration of human dignity and violation of human rights.

As serious as this issue is, it is incredibly under-acknowledged by the general public and deserves attention. V-Day is a global activist movement that takes a firm stance to end all forms of violence—such as rape, battery, incest, sex slavery and genital mutilation—toward women and girls. The international campaign was inspired by Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” a series of monologues written in 1994.

Eve Ensler interviewed hundreds of women of all ages, backgrounds, orientations and cultures to obtain a first-person narrative of contemporary women’s issues. The resulting compilation was “The Vagina Monologues.”  It is a piece of art that heightens the dialogue of female sexuality by addressing social stigmas surrounding the emotional and physical abuse of women. The monologues became the catalyst for the V-Day organization, founded in New York City in 1998.

The V-Day movement was contagious and spread internationally. Today “The Vagina Monologues” has been translated into over 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Female activists across international borders perform the monologues between February and April to raise money for local organizations that protect women from abuse. Organizations supported include rape crisis centers and safe houses. Annually, college and community activists raise an average of $4 million for local programs.

Beyond fiscal support, the purpose of the performances is to promote awareness. The Claremont Colleges are a strong and supportive partner in this global force and works to create a conscious Claremont community by changing social attitudes about gender and sexuality through many forms of activism.

“Claremont V-Day is not another radical feminist movement,” said Sara Berge (‘13), this year’s co-producer, “but rather a community collaborative of men and women alike working to end sexism.”

Claremont V-Day’s activism events include a spunky vagina parade, informative film screenings and discussions, a benefit concert and sales of V-Day tanks and vagina lollipops. On the weekend of April 7-9, a new Claremont cast will take the stage and perform “The Vagina Monologues” at the Pitzer Benson Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Do not allow silence to perpetuate the oppression of women. Come listen to your peers  give voice to sexual empowerment and help end violence against women.

For more information, contact vdayclaremont@gmail.com