Feb. 27, 2005 For the second year, St. Thomas is taking part in the worldwide celebration of "V-Day," with performances of "The Vagina Monologues" Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Palms Court Harbor View Hotel.
V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, is celebrated during the months of February and March. "V" stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. It is a worldwide campaign. The Obie Award-winning play, written by Eve Ensler, is a series of monologues that celebrate female sexuality. In 2004, more than 1,100 communities and colleges around the world participated in the Worldwide and College Campaigns and raised $65 million. So far, the play has been performed in 74 countries, according to the organizations's website http://www.vday.org/main.html.
On St. Thomas last year, the performance raised more than $9,000 for the St. John Safety Zone and the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas. This year's proceeds will go to the Women's Coalition of St. Croix.
Director Tricia Homer said she hopes to top last year's box office take this year with a bigger venue and two performances. Last year's one-time performance was sold out.
V-Day distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop the violence. In its first six years, V-Day has raised more than $20 million.
V-Day grew out of Ensler's performances of "The Vagina Monologues." As she traveled around the country performing her play, she heard from hundreds of women about the violence in their lives.
Homer brought the play to St. Thomas after appearing in it as a student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where she graduated in 2003. "Anyone can put on the production," she said Sunday. "I put in my application shortly after I came down here." She added, "It is my biggest hope that someone else will put the performance on next year." Homer said, "We started working in January this year. The play is a series of sexual abuse stories some are funny; some are much more serious. There is one called 'My Angry Vagina,' about ridiculous products put out for female use."
In one of the monologues, Ensler wrote: "I come from the 'down there' generation. That is, those were the words — spoken rarely and in a hushed voice — that the women in my family used to refer to all female genitalia, internal or external. It wasn't that they were ignorant of terms like vagina, labia, vulva, or clitoris. On the contrary, they were trained to be teachers and probably had more access to information than most."
The statistics on violence against women are sobering. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund's Web site, at least one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Nearly one-third of all American women report being physically or sexually abused by their husband or boyfriend.
In this year's spotlight country, those figures are probably much worse, and growing. Since the U.S. occupation and regime change in Iraq, women have lost more than they have gained. According to a report from Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women campaign,
"The current lack of security has restricted severely the participation of women in civil society, particularly in education, employment and political decision-making and constitutes a major obstacle to the advancement of their rights. Since the 2003 war, armed groups have targeted and killed several female political leaders and women's rights activists."
The report also demonstrates how gender discrimination in Iraqi laws contributes to the persistence of violence against women.
Organizers of the V-Day campaign are asked to donate one to 10 percent of their event proceeds to the Spotlight country.
Tickets are $20. They are available at Dockside Bookstore, Ital Ase Botanica, Nisky Pharmacy and Asfour Department stores.
Performing this year are Beige Auradou, Monica Auradou, Kim Aska, Carolyn Davis, Jolanda Donnadelle, Homer, Monyka Johnigan, Marcella Kelshall, Lynda Long, Cheryl Miller, Amalia Morrissey, Liza Mostsinker, Kathleen Pascal, Jennie Smith, Nicole Syms and Jennifer Wilson.
The production is directed by Homer and produced by Homer and Krystal Isaac. Stephanie Scott Williams is publicity coordinator and Erica Stucky is in charge of sponsorship.
This year's sponsors follow:
Queen V. sponsors ($1,000 contribution):
Palms Court Harbor View Hotel
Four Points Management LLP
Innovations by Design.
V-Angel sponsors ($500 contribution):
A Mystical Light and Sound.
LOVE sponsors ($100 contribution):
Moore's Dental Care
CF Rosenberg Painting Contractors
Dadlini's Little Europe.
The play runs between two and three hours. There will be shuttle service from the Windward Passage Hotel on the waterfront to Palms Court Harbor View Hotel from 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
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