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This article was prepared for the February 12, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Another Side of Sexuality
Valentines come and valentines go, but violence against
women remains a dreaded component of the sexual equation. Taking advantage
of February’s focus on Valentine’s Day and relationships is the V-Day
Project, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls.
The organization promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise
money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
Mercer County’s Womanspace is the beneficiary of this month’s V-Day
activities when students at three area colleges — Rider University,
The College of New Jersey, and Princeton University — all stage
performances of "The Vagina Monologues," the provocative and
highly acclaimed play by Eve Ensler that has enjoyed a long run Off-Broadway.
With the focus of "The Vagina Monologues" performances on
raising funds for Womanspace and increasing awareness regarding violence
against women and girls, all three colleges are inviting community
audiences to attend one or more of the performances. Those who set
out to attend performances at all three colleges, may find it thought
provoking to experience different interpretations of Ensler’s award-winning
play by different casts of actors.
Judith Johnston, who heads Rider University’s Gender Studies program,
says the V-day movement is particularly appropriate for and supported
on college campuses. "Think about the popular and slang words
we use to describe women’s sexual body parts," says Johnston.
"Those words express more than disrespect for women. They reflect
the fact that violence against women and girls is common, not even
newsworthy, and — although deplored — seen as inevitable."
"`The Vagina Monologues,’" Johnston continues, "lets us
talk about women’s sexuality with laughter, joy, and acceptance. By
respecting women’s bodies, these monologues show us how we can end
violence against women."
Two Rider performances, directed by Rider faculty member Miriam Wells
and co-directed by student Katierose Donohue are sponsored by the
Gender Studies and Fine Arts Programs. They take place Wednesday,
February 12, at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at the Yvonne Theatre, Rider University,
Route 206, Lawrenceville. Tickets for the show are $10 and sponsorship
tickets are also available. Call 609-896-5303.
At the College of New Jersey performances take place in Ewing on Friday
and Saturday, February 14 and 15, at 8 p.m. at the Campus Music Hall.
Princeton University performances are offered Thursday through Saturday,
February 13, 14, and 15, at 8 p.m. at the Frist Campus Center. For
ticket information, call 609-394-0136.
V-Day has proved effective in generating attention for
the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls including
rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery.
Some describe V-Day it as a spirit — affirming that life should
be lived creatively, while thriving rather than surviving or recovering
from atrocities. For more information about V-Day worldwide events,
At each performance, Womanspace will provide literature regarding
agency services and educational materials about domestic violence,
sexual assault, and their prevention.
Founded in 1977, Womanspace is a non-profit organization providing
comprehensive emergency and follow-up services for victims of domestic
violence and sexual assault, including rape. Services include safe,
short-term emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and
their children, 24-hour bilingual hotlines, counseling, and transitional
housing programs. The organization also offers education and technical
assistance to law enforcement officials, health care professionals,
and members of the religious community, as well as education for schools,
community groups and social service agencies. The 24-hour crisis hotline
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