V-Day – Helping Those Who Have Suffered from Sexual Assault in Owensboro
Are you stressing about what to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day? Chocolates, flowers, a nice meal… What if you had to stress about how to avoid being raped that day? What if you had to stress about how to keep your child from being raped and molested? What if there was no one to help you? These are big questions with gut wrenching answers.
We watch shows like Law and Order: SVU and see characters like Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler take down the rapists and child molesters because that’s what we do here in the good old USA. We are accustomed to being protected but in so many countries around the world it is common practice that authorities, soldiers, even family members are violent against women – and no one is there to stop them.
So what happens to these women? Do they get used to the abuse? Do they just accept their daughters go through the same treatment as part of daily life? Could you?
In 1996, playwright, Eve Ensler wrote something that has spawned a surplus of negative connotations. After interviewing hundreds of women, Ensler fashioned a series of soliloquies about women’s experiences and entitled the collection: The Vagina Monologues. Though “VM” has had more than a few critics, what it has inspired is undoubtedly good. In 1998, Ensler hosted what would become a global movement – V-Day.
V-Day is a global movement to stop 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 sexual slavery.
In its initial showing at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, actresses like: Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg and many more helped raise over $250,000 for NYC anti-violence groups.
What is so interesting about The Vagina Monologues is that it has become the cornerstone of the grassroots movement that V-Day has become. Student and community groups from all over the world perform the monologues for both local and international women’s charities – helping to not only bring attention to but also stop the wide-scale atrocities committed against women and girls.
When The Vagina Monologues was first introduced to the Owensboro community, it was not accepted with open arms. Kentucky Wesleyan theater professor, Joy Pace, understood the social impact that this play could have but in its first performances was kept underground. After several years of struggle, The Vagina Monologues will be performed at a church for the public by a group of volunteer women.
So, I could ask you to donate money to this very worthy cause and we could all go about our very safe lives and never think about these women ever again. But, as horrendous as it is across the world, bad things happen here at home too. Many people do not realize that Owensboro is home to a rape crisis center called New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services. We might not have a show dramatizing sexual assault in Owensboro but unfortunately it does happen. Proceeds from the Vagina Monologues will go directly to New Beginnings and for the first time this year, with the sponsorship help of Joshua Castlin and Lillian Madison with Horizon Health Alternatives ALL of the Vagina Monologues proceeds will go directly to New Beginnings.
According to Rachel Simmons, VM director, “This year, several actors who have performed in the past will be featured as well as some new actors as well. We even have a 13-year-old performing but the show is still 21 and up only. We are really excited to be to donate all the proceeds of this year’s show to New Beginnings thanks to the help of our sponsor Horizon Health Alternatives. This year’s performance is special because Eve didn’t focus on one specific area or cataclysmic event – she focused on the entire world as a whole and that includes Owensboro. We did the research and it’s terrifying.”
Rachel goes on to say, “We really want for people to understand that rape is NOT a joke – despite many of the recent Facebook groups that have desensitized the public into thinking it’s not taken seriously. We also want everyone to stop being afraid of facing things because of the words that are associated with them.“
The Vagina Monologues will be performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 8:30 PM on both February 10th and 11th. Tickets are $10 at the door and all proceeds to go New Beginnings in Owensboro, KY.