V-Day, founded by Tony award-winning playwright and women’s activist, Eve Ensler, is a global activist movement that aims to end violence against women and girls. The movement is an awakening that represents solidarity and the breakdown of inequality.
After performing in her most famous work, The Vagina Monologues, Ensler was inspired to create V-Day. She has devoted her life to bringing about a world where women can thrive, rather than merely survive.
The day’s celebration is, in the organization’s words, “a catalyst” that seeks to promote creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, the violence being rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, sex slavery, etc.
As part of V-Day’s initiative, college students – myself included – and volunteers produce annual performances of The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, by feminist writer Abiola Abrams. The proceeds from ticket sales go to local women’s organizations.
With performances, documentaries, and campaigns, the nonprofit aims to end the cycle of violence through education.
Ensler says, “There is so much madness and suffering, so much exploitation and violence, but we are flying in another direction, fueled by our collective decision to end violence and rise for love and revolution.”
V-Day also began the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign, which is the biggest mass action to end abuse against women in human history. It was launched on Valentine’s Day in 2012, in response to the statistic that one in three women worldwide will be subject to rape or abuse in her lifetime. This collectively amounts to one billion women.
This call to action has only grown since then. On Valentine’s Day in 2015, activists from over 200 countries congregated for the Rise for REVOLUTION, another initiative that One Billion Rising began to demand radical change.
One Billion Rising has succeeded in improving the lives of women and girls around the globe. In Hong Kong, OBR pressure helped convict a woman who had been continuously torturing her female domestic worker. In Bosnia, the risings helped create enough resistance that it led to a major investigation into rapes during wartime.
In addition to dances and other artistic performances, OBR also hosted the #SayHerName in remembrance of black women and girls who have been killed by police.
V-Day provides a time and space for women to exist freely and unapologetically. It is an opportunity to disrupt the normal, and connect with others who wish to do the same.
To quote Ensler, “We dance in a new landscape calling up our dreams of a world where women breathe and walk and live freely. Where they are deeply valued, where their bodies are sacred, where the obstacles to them rising are erased. We drum our hearts back so we never again forget our inseparability. May we overthrow all repressive mindsets and usher in the time of love.”
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