In an effort to stop violence against women, celebrate women and raise awareness, one student, with the help of her committee, organized V-Day at Weber State University.
Avery Pince, a senior majoring in women’s studies, organized a production of “The Vagina Monologues” and a resource fair as part of V-Day, an international activist movement working to end the violence against women and girls. Pince said the planning process began more than a year ago, in February of 2012.
“This year’s theme is ‘One Billion Rising’,” Pince said. “They say that 1 of 3 women will be raped or sexually abused in her lifetime, and that’s equivalent to 1 billion women living on the earth at the moment.”
Pince said that, although V-Day itself is global, students can help their communities through grassroots movements, as opposed to sending off money to distant places and never seeing the result.
“We’re not going to stop until the violence stops,” said Pince, speaking about V-Day’s mission. “This has to stop, and the way I’m going to make it stop is by saying I’m not going anywhere.”
The Safe Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter receives 90 percent of the proceeds generated from ticket sales from “The Vagina Monologues.” Pince said she chose that organization because the donation will actually make a difference.
The resource fair set up in the Shepherd Union Atrium provided information about organizations that can help women, children and students.
“They feel like they are in these situations and that they can’t escape,” Pince said. “Our goal was to highlight resources in our community that they could take advantage of and they don’t have to pay a million dollars for.”
Pince directed “The Vagina Monologues,” which included a rotating cast of 36 women, most of whom are current students and staff at WSU. The play ran on Monday night and today, and will run again on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
The play contains mature language and content that isn’t meant to be offensive, but to start conversations about womanhood and bring awareness to the violence against women and girls that occurs around the world.
“It’s because we don’t say these words that we allow people to abuse them,” Pince said. “If my vagina is somewhere that I’m embarrassed about, I’m going to let somebody rape it and then not say anything about it.”
Each performance is unique, because the cast is assigned different monologues to read each time. Eve Ensler is the writer of “The Vagina Monologues,” which has been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries.
“How many women have grown up thinking they are disgusting?” said Michelle Paustenbaugh, a chemistry professor who will play the part of the narrator in Wednesday’s performance. “And especially too because we live in this society where a lot of young men, maybe old men too, who have no experience with women besides pornography, and so pornographic images really narrow what women can be. And there is much more to what is beautiful than what is shown in pornography.”
Paustenbaugh also advised Pince as was needed. Paustenbaugh said “The Vagina Monologues” is probably not what people would expect it to be, and it highlights humanity and women, but is not anti-men.
Lara Vo, a musical theater application freshman, performed on Tuesday afternoon. She said the monologues were a lighthearted and funny way to portray serious subject manner.
“These are personal stories of women from all around the world, just put into play format,” Vo said. “It’s just amazing to be able to be a part of that and help others see what is actually out there in the world.”