February 14, 2016 12:54:10 pm
The short term V-Day is synonymous with Valentine’s Day. However, since 1998, a determined artist-activist Eve Ensler — of The Vagina Monologues fame — has been quietly bringing attention to a burning problem swept under the carpet — Violence Against Women (VAW).
Art is an important aspect of V-Day activism and plays, documentaries, poetry, etc. are used as tools to bring about change. V-Day operates out of one of its core beliefs that “Art has the power to transform thinking and inspire people to act.” One of the hallmarks of V-Day is the benefit shows of The Vagina Monologues staged in various parts of the world.
At its debut, The Vagina Monologues — termed as one of the most important pieces of political theatre in recent times — created quite a stir. A varying number of women read out monologues surrounding the vagina by touching matters such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth and orgasm. Some well known titles include:
‘My Angry Vagina’ — in which a woman humorously rants about injustices wrought against the vagina, such as tampons, douches, and the tools used by OB/GYNs.
‘My Vagina Was My Village’ — a monologue compiled from the testimonies of Bosnian women subjected to rape camps.
‘I Was There in the Room’ — a monologue in which Eve Ensler describes the birth of her granddaughter.
In 2001, V-Day went international and has since sought to tackle many issues that are local to female communities in different parts of the world. In Africa, the Middle East and Asia. V-Day has committed to ongoing support to various anti-VAW initiatives and networks. In collaboration with local organisations, V-Day provided hard-won funding that helped open the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq. It sponsored annual workshops and three national-level campaigns in the highly VAW-affected regions of Afghanistan, and also donated satellite-phones to Afghan women to keep lines of communication open and action plans moving forward.
V-Day was instrumental in the founding of Karama — a programme working in Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — that works to strengthen efforts to end VAW by joining the efforts of local women’s organisations and other civil society groups.
Check out areas near you that are organising V-Day events here.
The Vagina Monologues is being staged in Mumbai on February 14, 27 and 28.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.