For many, February 14th marks a day for love, romance and affection. And while spending some time with a loved one may be great, the 14th also marks another important day: V-Day.
V-Day is an annual movement aimed at fighting violence against women. In 1994, Eve Ensler released The Vagina Monologues, an episodic play dealing with a variety of feminine experiences (including sexual assault). Years later, Eve, along with other women, worked to establish the V-Day movement in order to start a dialogue about the scarily high statistics of female victims of assault and violence.
On Valentine’s Day in 1998, volunteers in New York set up a benefit to raise money for violence against women. The benefit held a performance, which included recounts from The Vagina Monologues, at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and end up raising a whopping $250 000 for their cause.
What Ensler and the others then discovered, was that theatre and performance were a key contributor to creating important conversations and giving a voice to those who, at times, didn’t always have one. And so, they concluded to make V-Day an annual occurrence.
Since the first established V-Day, people from around the world have been encouraged to host their own V-Day benefit performance, and use the proceeds to support safe houses and fund local projects that are helping to stop violence against women around the world for good.
Activists globally are now preparing for their own V-Day benefit, which will include performances of The Vagina Monologues and/or A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer. These benefits will also include stalls, film showings and large scale gatherings and campaigns aimed at educating others and standing up for victimized women around the world.
Communities are encouraged to start their own V-Day, and are invited to have a portion of the performance include brand new testimonials from women in the community, recounting their own experiences of assault, harassment and violence in the workplace.
The sheer volume of V-Day supporters and contributors across the globe today has truly proven the impact performance, discussion, word of mouth and social media have on making a change.
So instead of buying chocolate hearts and teddy bears, why not speak up about a real issue this Valentine’s Day? Find out how you can host your own VDay event here.