I remember being at university and watching a production of 'The Vagina Monologues'.
I didn’t get it, felt extremely uncomfortable watching it, and didn’t really find it funny.
Now when I think about it I know at age 19 I simply wasn’t ready to think about all the issues it brings up. Strange how almost 10 years later I would absolutely love to go and see it again, I know I would now understand perfectly and laugh and cry in all the right places.
The Vagina Monologues was created by the wonderful Eve Ensler, a woman from New York who was abused by her father at a very young age. She wrote the novel ‘Insecure at Last: Losing It In Our Security Obsessed World’- on my reading list! – in which she describes the abuse. The book is about how people live today and the effort they make to keep themselves safe.
Ensler wrote the play ‘The Good Body’ that explores how women from different cultures and backgrounds feel about their bodies in different situations. ‘I Am An Emotional Creature: the Secret Life of Girls of Around the World’ includes some very powerful stories and poems; monologues from real girls and women. The story describing how one woman escaped with her child from her rapist soldier captor in the Democratic Republic of Congo will always stay with me.
Performances of 'The Vagina Monologues' play around the world inspired Eve Ensler to create V-Day, an organisation that promotes action against violence against women and girls. ‘One Billion Rising’ is the global protest event put on every year to give awareness about the one billion women and girls in the world that have been raped or beaten in their lifetime. The ‘V’ stands for Victory, Vagina, and Valentine- V-Day is the 14th February every year. One billion people dance on this day to promote justice and equality for women. www.onebillionrising.org/
Eve Ensler is one of the most inspirational women’s rights activists in the world today.
Her stories about helping potential victims of Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya, victims of rape during war in the Congo, repressed women in Afghanistan, and lots else besides, are truly motivating to me. A woman who has suffered herself, and has risen up to give her energy to help so many others.
Pictures from One Billion Rising, Chiang Mai, Thailand 14th February 2015
Eve Ensler shares her wisdom...