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V-Day at Carleton

January 31, 2010

The Vagina Monologues is a showcase of a few individual women’s stories about their bodies, as compiled by Eve Ensler. But V-day is about women. It’s about anyone who identifies as a woman. V-day is about the women on this campus who are brave enough to stand up in the middle of athe chapel and say “vagina”. It’s about supporting the women in our local community who endure domestic and sexual violence. It’s about the 1 in 3 women globally who survive violence. And this year, it’s about women in the Congo.

The Spotlight Campaign this year is again on women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the war in the DRC is formally over, women are still under the constant threat of violence. The violence is coming from multiple sources; all armed groups in the conflict have committed acts of sexual violence and even UN personnel have been implicated in perpetuating the violence. The extent of this violence is hard to estimate, but in one province alone, local health centers report that an average of 40 women are raped every day.

Gender-based violence is being used as a tactic of war and women are suffering from sexual slavery, forced prostitution, kidnapping and rape. Even when the war is over, women must endure this violence long-term. Survivors of sexual violence suffer severe psychological and physical health consequences, but they face barriers for justice in stigmatizing and under-capacitated court systems, and STIs and HIV remain untreated with the absence of a solid health infrastructure in the DRC.

But women are still supporting each other. Part of the profits from the Vagina Monologues performance will go to the City of Joy. This facility located in Bukavu, will support and train women to be community activists. Just down the road from the Panzi hospital, City of Joy will be a place of community healing though group therapy, storytelling, dance, theater, sex education and economic empowerment. Women can turn their pain into power and reclaim their communities.

Sexual violence is an issue globally, and occurs within our own community. The Hope Center provides direct support to victims of violence, collaborative support to other organizations that serve victims, and educational support for all of Rice County. Their mission is to create zero tolerance for sexual and domestic violence through Healing, Outreach, Prevention and Education; a majority of the profits from the Vagina Monologues will go to support them.

V-day’s mission is to prevent sexual violence against women, and we can all reclaim our bodies as sites of empowerment. All of the V-day events are for us to come together as a community to really interrogate how we can prevent sexual violence and empower all bodies. It’s about the women in the Congo, it’s about our whole community. It’s about you.

V-Day events on campus:
Thursday, Feb. 4 Congo Teach-In 7pm LDC 104
Friday, Feb. 5 V-Night at the Cave
Tuesday, Feb. 9 Vagina Monologues Forum 5pm LDC 104
Thursday, Feb. 11 No! The Rape Documentary Leighton 305 7:30pm
Saturday, Feb. 13 Vagina Monologues Performance the Chapel 8pm
Friday, Feb 19 (tentative) Congo Art Auction and V-Day Art Show

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