February 14th is V-Day – not just hearts and flowers

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! 

As people all over the globe celebrate this very commercial day of spreading love … and I’m all for the sentiment behind it … I’m asking you to take some time to put thought and effort into another kind of call to action for February 14th.

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.

V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.

V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.

V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.

V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.

V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery. Click here for the official website and information about how you can participate and spread the word.

Question: What is V-Day?
Answer: A global movement to stop violence against women and girls by raising funds and increasing awareness, V-Day has its roots in Valentine’s Day, February 14, and the award-winning play The Vagina Monlogues, written by Eve Ensler.
 An activist and playwright, Eve Ensler founded V-Day on February 14, 1998, when she organized a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The event sold out the 2500-seat venue and raised $250,000 for local NYC anti-violence groups. Among the 20 actors performing in the first V-Day production were Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Winona Ryder, Calista Flockhard, Margaret Cho, Gloria Steinem, and Eve Ensler herself.In 1999, V-Day launched its College Campaign with 66 participating schools across North America performingThe Vagina Monologues; over 20,000 people attended V-Day events. Over in the UK, a benefit performance at London’s Old Vic Theatre featured Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Isabella Rosellini, Christiane Amanpour, and Gillian Anderson.

In 2000, the College Campaign expanded to 150 colleges and universities around the globe. In 2001, a February 10th V-Day performance in New York City’s Madison Square Garden sold out 18,000 seats and raised $1 million. Also that year, the Worldwide Campaign took off; V-Day events in over 40 cities raised over $350,000 to local organizations.

By V-Day’s tenth anniversary in February 2008, thousands of benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues (including a run on Broadway) had raised over 50 million dollars for anti-violence programs around the world. Over 120 countries have staged V-Day events.

Although V-Day is most closely associated with Valentine’s Day, V-Day events typically take place anywhere from February through April.

According to the V-Day website, “The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.” The V-Day logo is a simple graphic interpretation (using a standard computer/typewriter keyboard) of that portion of the female anatomy:

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Eve has raised over $85 million dollars to stop violence against women. She has helped found a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo where statistics show approximately 48 women are raped per hour. A city where women can go to be safe and heal and learn. It’s called the City of Joy.The hope for the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies in the women of that land. Dr. Denis Mukwege is helping to make sure that hope is not snuffed out. Partnered with Eve Ensler, they have founded the City of Joy, which is a place women can go to recover more fully, to learn skills, and to become whole again. It opened last year, and its first class just graduated.

February 14th is V-Day. Take time to celebrate as you wish but please also help share the message of hope that this powerful movement embodies. Take some action, no matter how small. Tweet about it #vday. Tell everyone you know. Donate. Create dialogue in whatever way works for you.

I would not have known so much about this had I not been reading the inspiring and painfully honest posts Emmie Mears has been sharing on her blog. She has a powerful voice. Go there. I’ll end this with the final words on today’s post on Emmie’s blog.

“Together we can affect change. Together we can break the silence.

Until the Violence Stops.”

Are you aware of the V-Day movement? Have you seen The Vagina Monologues performed anywhere? Do you know of  programs in your area that work toward educating men and women about these issues? Thanks for doing whatever you can to help share the messages of the V-Day movement.

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!

Comments

  1. I have heard about V-Day and the Vagina Monologues for years but didn’t really KNOW about them. Thanks for the amazingly informative post Patricia. We must all band together to stop this kind of violence against women!
    I am going to see my very first production of the Vagina Monologues tomorrow night with my MOM and I can’t wait!!! It feels good to support a cause of this nature and to stand up against atrocities against women and girls!!!

    • Well, how is that for good timing … or Ti-Ming as the ladies in The Bridge Club would say! You and your mom will appreciate TVM and, as you say, it’s such an important cause to support. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. Have day full of love, Natalie – you deserve to get back all the love you give to all of us on a regular basis! <3

  2. I’d never heard of this before. Great post. I’m going to have to check it out!

  3. Very important message, Patricia! thanks for sharing this. Haven’t had the opportunity to see the Vagina Monologues, but always support ways to stop violence against women! Happy V-Day!

  4. Thanks, Patricia, for getting the word out there.

  5. You are such an amazing woman, Patricia! You find the greatest information about causes that need attention. I know of shelters and abuse programs in my area, but I’ve never heard of V-Day or seen TVM. City of Joy sounds like a bit of heaven in a place like hell. 48 women an hour? That’s repulsive. Thank you for enlightening me about this very important issue.

  6. 48 women raped an hour?! I’m speechless.

    Thanks for highlighting this very serious problem, Patricia.

  7. This is a huge issue in many third world countries. My heart goes to those women and young girls who are abused, and often by men they know well. I have heard about V-Day and the Vagina Monologues, although I’ve never seen the latter.

    Thank you for writing about this pressing issue.

  8. A day late getting here I’m afraid but I had still FB’d and Tweeted as this is something that is relevant all year round and hope I might catch those who didn’t see it yesterday! Thanks for sharing Patricia.

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