Feb. 23, 2004 Help the Family Resource Center in St. Thomas and the Safety Zone in St. John by attending the March 7 performance of "The Vagina Monologues."
The performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Mill in St. Thomas, is one of more than 2,000 performances of "The Vagina Monologues" and other activities held around the country in February and March to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. Tickets to the benefit performance are $20.
"It opens your life to women's issues," said Tricia Homer, one of the organizers of the St. Thomas event.
The Obie Award-winning play, written by Eve Ensler, is a series of monologues that celebrates female sexuality. The play has been performed all over the world.
Writes Ensler in "The Vagina Monologues:"
"I come from the 'down there' generation. That is, those were the words — spoken rarely and in a hushed voice — that the women in my family used to refer to all female genitalia, internal or external. It wasn't that they were ignorant of terms like vagina, labia, vulva, or clitoris. On the contrary, they were trained to be teachers and probably had more access to information than most."
Homer said the 25-person cast in the St. Thomas production comes from all walks of St. Thomas life and many different age groups.
She said the monologues also include stories about a woman burned by her boyfriend with acid and a woman burned by a bomb in Baghdad.
The play is performed under the auspices of V-Day, a nonprofit group that works to bring attention to the fight against worldwide violence — including issues like rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery — against women and girls.
V-Day (the "V" stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina) distributes funds to grass roots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop the violence. In its first six years, V-Day has raised more than $20 million.
V-Day grew out of Ensler's performances of "The Vagina Monologues." As she traveled around the country performing her play, she heard from hundreds of women about the violence in their lives.
The statistics are staggering. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund's Web site, at least one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Nearly one-third of all American women report being physically or sexually abused by their husband or boyfriend.
Additionally, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day, and pregnant or recently-pregnant women are more likely to die in a homicide than any other cause.
Ensler is also the author of "Until the Violence Stops," a documentary about V-Day that appeared on Lifetime TV.
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