V-Day is a global movement and nonprofit organization (the V-Day Foundation) that works to stop violence against women and girls. Upcoming events in Moscow and Pullman, including events this week hosted by the University of Idaho Women’s Center, will help raise money for local and national groups. The V-Day campaign includes the performance of creative events such as plays, readings, documentary showings, and educational “teach-ins” to increase awareness, raise funds, and revitalize existing organizations that advocate for an end to gender-based violence, including rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery.
V-Day events take place on or near Valentine’s Day (the V is said to stand for Victory, Valentine and Vagina) and were founded by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, who is famous for her celebrated play, The Vagina Monologues. First performed in 1994, The Vagina Monologues addresses women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse, and is based on interviews Ensler conducted with dozens of women. The play caused such a strong reaction among women viewers, who sought out Ensler to share their own stories after performances, that Ensler decided to develop the play into a movement to help end violence. In 1998 V-Day was established as a nonprofit organization.
Once a year, in February, March, and April, Ensler allows groups around the world to produce a performance of the play, as well as other works created by V-Day, and use the proceeds for local projects and programs, like shelters and rape crisis centers. Each year, Ensler writes a new Spotlight Monologue to highlight a global incident of gender-based violence. The script for this year’s play features the monologue “For My Sisters in Portauprincebukavuneworleans” and is aimed at raising awareness of the violence perpetrated against three communities of women and girls: in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake; in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the result of a 15-year bloody civil war; and in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Last year, over 5,800 V-Day benefits took place around the world, raising funds and awareness. Since 1998, V-Day has raised over $85 million for local beneficiaries working to end violence against women and girls. The University of Idaho Women’s Center has joined this global movement as part of the V‑Day 2012 College Campaign, raising money through tickets sales for Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP) and the global V-Day Foundation, as well as for Women’s Center activities.
In Moscow this week, V-Day events organized by the UI Women’s Center include three benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center (February 2–4), an art exhibition and reception at Sisters’ Brew Coffee House, and a free screening of the PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You on the UI campus, showing Eve Ensler’s work with women inmates of New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. (See below for event details and locations.)
Other related events this month include a University of Idaho civil discourse forum on the topic Rape Culture and Sexual Assault on Campus (offered through the Campus Conversations organized by ASUI). In Pullman, The Vagina Monologues will be performed at WSU the weekend after the Moscow performances (February 9–11), and an open student reflection session regarding violence against women will be held at Washington State University’s Center for Civic Engagement on Valentine’s Day.
There will also be V-Day events and performances in Walla Walla, WA at Walla Walla Community College and Whitman College; in Spokane, WA at Spokane Falls Community College and Whitworth College; and in Wallace, ID at the Eagles Building. Visit http://events.vday.org/ to enter your location and find an event near you.
Event Details and Ticket Info:
Tuesday, January 31, 2012:
• Special V-Day Art Exhibition and Reception. 6:00 pm at Sisters’ Brew Coffee House, 218 S. Main Street, Moscow, ID. The public is invited to view original artwork inspired by the themes “Womanhood” and “Empowering Women,” meet the artists, enjoy complimentary coffee and pastries, make a donation to the V-Day Campaign, and purchase tickets for this year’s production of “The Vagina Monologues.”
Wednesday, February 1, 2012:
• Documentary Screening: “What I Want My Words to Do to You.” 12:30 pm to 2:00pm in the Women’s Center, located in room 109 of the Memorial Gym on the UIdaho campus, Moscow, ID. This documentary is an unprecedented look into the minds and hearts of the women inmates of New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. What I Want My Words to Do to You goes inside a writing workshop led by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, consisting of 15 women, most of whom were convicted of murder. Through a series of exercises and discussions, the women delve into their pasts and explore the nature of their crimes and the extent of their own culpability. The film documents both the wrenching personal journeys undertaken by the inmates to find the words that tell their own stories, and the power of those words to move the outside world. Free and open to all.
Thursday-Saturday, February 2-4, 2012:
• Vagina Monologues, U of I Women’s Center V-Day Benefit. 7:00pm (doors at 6:30pm) at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center, 508 South Main, Moscow, ID. ($10 advance, $15 at the door). The University of Idaho Women’s Center presents the 10th annual V-Day benefit production of Eve Ensler’s celebrated play. The beneficiaries of the 2012 Moscow production proceeds are the local non-profit organization Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP) and the global V-Day Foundation. Tickets may be obtained from the University of Idaho Women’s Center (Memorial Gym, Room 109). Tickets may also be purchased in downtown Moscow from Eclectica/Safari Pearl (221 E. Third St). Advance purchase is highly recommended, as the show sells out every year. For more information, please contact the Women’s Center at (208) 885-6616 or email email@example.com.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012:
• Campus Conversation: Rape Culture and Sexual Assault on Campus. 11:30 -12:30 in the Aurora Room (4th Floor), University of Idaho Commons, Moscow, ID. At the University of Idaho 250 women report being sexually assaulted on campus. More than likely this assault will have been committed by someone they know. Is our campus doing enough to prevent and respond to sexual assaults? What should we be doing? What would the culture be if everyone saw it as their responsibility to prevent and address sexual assault? Campus Conversations were created based on the premises that people need to come together and have meaningful dialogue. These monthly conversations bring together students, staff, faculty and community members to discuss a wide variety of topics that impact our community. Participants will be able to discover the importance of authentically sharing their thoughts and actively listening to others’ perspectives. A collaborative program brought to you by the Women’s Center, Center for Volunteerism and Social Action, and Leadership Programs.
Thursday-Saturday, February 9-11, 2012:
• Vagina Monologues, WSU V-Day Benefit. 7:00pm (doors at 6:15pm) in the Jones Theatre, Daggy Hall (free parking), Washington State University Campus, Pullman, WA. ($10 advance, $12 at the door). Tickets are on sale from January 30th to February 11, from 11am -2pm in the CUB. Beneficiaries of the 2012 Pullman production include Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP) and the Women and Girls of Haiti. Bring used cell phones, feminine hygiene products and non-perishable foods for the ATVP donation drive and be entered into a raffle to win a gift. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-335-7472.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012:
• V-Day Reflection Session at WSU Center for Civic Engagement. Time TBA, in the Student Resource Center, L45, Compton Union Building (CUB), 1500 NE Terrell Mall, Pullman, WA. For V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, we will discuss issues of violence against women. Visit http://cce.wsu.edu/reflections for more information and a full listing of all Spring 2012 Reflections.