V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery.
Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, and screenings of V-Day's documentary Until The Violence Stops, to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. 2009 V-Day events had the option to introduce a new V-Day theatrical event, Any One Of Us: Words From Prison, which reveals the connection between women in prison and the violence that often brings them there. This new event brings forth raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by women from prisons across the nation and performed by local women. In 2009, over 4200 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.
Performance is just the beginning. V-Day stages large-scale benefits and produces innovative gatherings, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes towards violence against women including the documentary Until The Violence Stops; community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juárez, Mexico; the December 2003 V-Day delegation trip to Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan; the Afghan Women's Summit; the March 2004 delegation to India; the Stop Rape Contest; the Indian Country Project; Love Your Tree; the June 2006 two-week festival of theater, spoken word, performance and community events called UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC which welcomed 2,000 runners in Prospect Park running to demand an end to violence, witnessed 50 actresses and over 100 writers contributing their genius, time and talent to sold out events, and reached millions through media and a citywide subway and bus campaign. In 2008, V-Day celebrated its 10-year anniversary at V TO THE TENTH at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome. V TO THE TENTH featured two days of speakers, art, performance for all and makeovers, massage, medical testing and healing circles, and yoga for the women of the Gulf South Region. The event was attended by over 30,000 women and men and reached millions of people all over the word, raising over $700,000 for local efforts in New Orleans to end violence against women and girls.
In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, V-Day commits ongoing support to build movements and anti-violence networks. Working with local organizations, V-Day provided hard-won funding that helped open the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq, sponsored annual workshops and three national campaigns in Afghanistan, convened the "Confronting Violence" conference of South Asian women leaders, and donated satellite-phones to Afghan women to keep lines of communication open and action plans moving forward. Through the Karama program based out of Cairo, V-Day works in-depth to build networks ending violence against women and girls in Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
The V-Day movement is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world, in 130 countries from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and all of North America. V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities" and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities. In ten years, the V-Day movement has raised over $70 million.
The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.
Cast Member Dana Ellis Speaks About “The Vagina Monologues”
by Leia Poritz | February 4th, 2010 at 9:43 pm
As it says on The Vagina Monologues’ Facebook event page:
The Vagina Monologues is a painfully funny, movingly poignant, and socially eye opening discussion of the international female experience. The show is simple: 16 monologues about all-things-vagina, based on activist Eve Ensler’s interviews with over 200 women. You will laugh, you will wince, you will be angry, and hopefully you will leave inspired.
About the cause:
V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.
Each year V-Day increases awareness by focusing on a specific group of women in the world who are resisting violence with courage and vision. In 2010, V-Day’s Spotlight Campaign will once again highlight the atrocities being committed against the women and girls of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
To get an insider’s point of view about the show, I interviewed Dana Ellis (SED ’11), a cast member in this year’s performance.
Why did you decide to try out for “The Vagina Monologues”?
Last year I was a TA [Teaching Assistant] and one of my students told me she was in the show, so I wanted to go out and support her. I loved the performance so much that I had decided that I definitely wanted to be part of the next one and had been eagerly waiting to try out all year.
Are guys allowed to audition?
You are only allowed to audition if you identify as female, meaning you either have to be biologically female or transgender. This year, our whole cast is female—everyone has a vagina—but in the past, that has not always been the case. We have a piece called, “They Beat the Boy Out of that Girl,” which is about transgender women. This year, biological females pretending to be transgender are performing it, but transgender females have performed it in the past.
What is your role in the performance?
I’m a narrator, so I open up the show along with two other girls. We introduce each character throughout the show.
What have you gotten out of your experience?
I have made some great connections with some unbelievable girls. I’ve learned more about myself, of women as a gender, and topics within feminism that society feels are taboo, but that we are able to perform on stage.
What social taboos do you think “The Vagina Monologues” helps disrupt?
Things such as rape, genocide, tampons, and female orgasms that people are afraid to talk about. Even the word “vagina”—vagina is a word we were taught never to say out loud. Instead, people give nicknames to vaginas, such as pussycat, coochie snarcher, labbe, poonani, mushmellow, gladys segalman, paradise land, blossoming flower, and mo’nique. One name that we wanted to add to the show, but we thought too obscene, was bearded ham wallet.
How does “The Vagina Monologues” make people aware of the violence against women and bring courage to women?
Each monologue discusses a different experience that Eve Ensler wants to highlight, and the themes included have some of these topics in them. More important is the annual spotlight piece that talks about the Democratic Republic of Congo. The piece discusses the experience of a 15-year-old girl who was a sex slave for two years for a soldier from her own country. This piece talks about how she survived the dramatic experience.
The show is extremely provocative in order to help the audience be more comfortable with the topics. Although it’s funny, it’s funny in a sad way—people are laughing about things women have to endure because of their vaginas.
The show really is amazing, how it touches upon all women—lesbian women, straight women, mothers, 6-year-old girls, 72-year-old women…
What is your favorite part of “The Vagina Monologues”?
My favorite part of the show is the cast piece called “Wear and Say,” which is about what your vagina would wear and say. It’s hysterical.
As for the experience, my favorite part is the bonding sessions. We make it a point during rehearsals to just stop and play a bonding game, such as different icebreakers. Although we are all from very different backgrounds—different cultures, values, majors—we find that we have so much in common, and that a lot of it is bonding over the show.
“The Vagina Monologues” 2010 will take place on Friday, February 19th at 7:30pm, and Saturday, February 20th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm in the Law Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the GSU Link from February 16th-19th and at the door for $8. All proceeds go towards helping the girls at the DRC. Not only do these girls need emotional therapy, but also physical help to deal with the abuse and rape that they have been through.