February 14 was nearly a month ago, but this weekend Austin women are celebrating V-Day.
In this case V doesn’t just stand for Valentine: It also stands for "Victory" and "Vagina."
Two performances of “The Vagina Monologues” are showing at the 29 Street Ballroom this weekend. Originally written by Eve Ensler in 1994, the play – a series of monologues varying in tone and touching on topics including sexuality, reproductive issues, rape and female empowerment – has been continually updated over the years with new stories.
In 1998, Ensler and friends launched V-Day, a non-profit set up to produce showings of the play. The organization’s website has more details:
V-Day's mission is simple. It demands that violence against women and girls must end. To do this, once a year, in February, March, and April, Eve allows groups around the world to produce a performance of the play, as well as other works created by V-Day, and use the proceeds for local individual projects and programs that work to end violence against women and girls, often shelters and rape crisis centers. What began as one event in New York City in 1998 today includes over 5,800 V-Day events annually.
Proceeds from the performances will benefit SafePlace, a resource center for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The U.S. has seen a resurgence of battles over contraception, abortion and female sexuality. But the theme of this year’s V-Day performances is international. Playwright Ensler’s new piece for the monologues’ 2012 production, “FOR MY SISTERS IN PORTAUPRINCEBUKAVUNEWORLEANS,“ can be watched online. It compares the plight of women in post-Katrina New Orleans to those in disaster-ravaged Port au Prince and war-torn Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is alleged that some 16,000 women were raped in a single weekend.