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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

is 609-394-9000.

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