V to the Tenth!
“Say it! Say the word!”
In a church basement in Philadelphia, a Women’s Ministry group is meeting to discuss an upcoming fundraiser. After a few minutes of conversation, the group’s leader points her finger at one of the attendees and yells, “Come on, say it!”
“Say what?” the suddenly shy woman asks with a smirk.
“Say the word!”
“OK, fine … ” she finally concedes. “V … a … g … i … n … a!”
With that, the other women raise a prolonged note like a heavenly choir that trails off into a fit of laughter. And the church’s male pastor, who really had just stopped by for the cookies and coffee, leaves the room.
That’s fine with the women, however, since they already had engaged him in a discussion about violence against women, about how his congregation could reach out to women in need, and about how this Women’s Ministry could produce a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” to help empower local women to make a difference in their community.
Empowerment is what lies at the heart of V-Day and its efforts to eradicate violence against women around the world. The 10-year-old effort — spearheaded by writer, activist and powerhouse Eve Ensler — has raised more than $50 million with an unusual fundraising model that eschews direct mail, telefundraising, street canvassing, Web-based solicitation and other traditional venues.
In addition to performances, V-Day stages large-scale benefits and produces innovative gatherings, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes about
violence against women, including:
• the documentary Until the Violence Stops;
• community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juárez, Mexico;
• V-Day delegation trips to Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan;
• the Afghan Women’s Summit;
• a two-week festival of theater, spoken word, performance and community events called Until the Violence Stops: NYC, which invited thousands of New Yorkers to make New York City the safest place on earth for women and girls.
- People Magazine