V-Day (movement)

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V-Day, February 14th, is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls inspired by Eve Ensler's play, The Vagina Monologues. The movement was started in 1998 by author, playwright and activist Eve Ensler. Ensler has been quoted as saying that it was women's reactions to the play that launched V-Day.

About V-Day[edit]

In 2001, a non-profit charity, "V-Day", was incorporated with the intent of using performances of The Vagina Monologues to raise money to benefit female victims of violence and sexual abuse. Since its inception, the movement has expanded its use of art and activism to include film — most notably the documentary Until The Violence Stops (2004), readings of the compilation A Memory, Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer, marches, and festivals such as UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC (June 2006), and the ten-year anniversary V TO THE TENTH at the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena in 2008.

Beginning in early 2001, V-Day activities expanded to a host of international activities, with V-Day hosting leadership summits for women in Afghanistan, an international gathering of activists worldwide in Rome in September 2002, launching the Karama program in the Middle East, coordinating community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juarez, Mexico, and more. In some societies where The Vagina Monologues are not permitted V-Day events revolve around other works developed by V-Day, including the book A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, an anthology of writings about violence against women.

V-Day included the first ever all transgender version of The Vagina Monologues in 2004, with a performance by eighteen notable transwomen under the mentoring of Jane Fonda and Andrea James of Deep Stealth Productions.[1]

In 2010, more than 5,400 V-Day events took place in over 1,500 locations in the U.S. and around the world. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

In 2011, V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (DRC), with support from UNICEF, opened the City of Joy, a new community for women survivors of gender violence in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). City of Joy will provide up to 180 Congolese women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; self-defense training; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); economic empowerment; storytelling; dance; theater; ecology and horticulture. Created from their vision, Congolese women will run, operate and direct City of Joy themselves.

Mission[edit]

According to www.vday.org, V-Day's vision is "a world where women live safely and freely." V-Day demands that rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery end immediately and believes that "women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities".

The organization strives to unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts by raising money and consciousness, and to lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.[2]

V-Day campaigns[edit]

There are two types of V-Campaigns: The College Campaign and the Community Campaign.

Through these V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, Any One of Us: Words From Prison, screenings of the V-Day documentary Until The Violence Stops and the PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You, and conduct Spotlight Campaign Teach-Ins and V-Men workshops, to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.

Each year V-Day spotlights a particular group of women who are experiencing violence with the goal of raising awareness and funds to put a worldwide media spotlight on this area and to raise funds to aide groups who are addressing it. The 2010 spotlight focuses on the women and girls of Haiti .[3]

In 2007 V-Day launched the global campaign Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power To The Women and Girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo which raised worldwide awareness about the level of gender violence in the DRC and advocating for change throughout the Congo.[4]

Along with Eve Ensler, the movement founded One Billion Rising, a global protest campaign to end violence, and promote justice and gender equality for women.

Criticism[edit]

V-Day has attracted considerable criticism for hijacking the occasion of Valentine's Day. Critics argue that feminists should not be admonishing people to consider rape, incest and violence on an occasion designed to celebrate love and romance.[5] Feminist Wendy McElroy stated that "V-Day embodies the same double standard and dishonesty that has characterized most feminist pronouncements for decades" and urged people to "take back Valentines Day".[6] Glenn Sacks criticised V-Day for being misandrist and for causing division between the genders, stating "Valentine's Day, which in the past symbolized the romantic bonds between men and women, has been turned into a day which further separates them."[7]

See also[edit]

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