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V Day at Drexel brings attention to women, victims of sexual abuse | The Triangle

V Day at Drexel brings attention to women, victims of sexual abuse

Drexel University will present a benefit production, “V-Day,” based on Eve Ensler’s original play, “The Vagina Monologues,” March 2 at 8 p.m. and March 3 at 1 p.m. in the Bossone Research Center’s Mitchell Auditorium.

“The Vagina Monologues” is made up of a varying number of monologues read by a number of women based on intimate experiences related to sexual abuse and violence.

Ensler’s original production started in 1996 when she, along with a group of her friends, got together and shared their experiences related to womanhood and mistreatment. The V-Day Movement is based on Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” in which participants stage benefit performances of the show or host other related events in their communities. Such events take place worldwide each year between Feb. 1 and April 30. The performances generally benefit rape crisis centers and similar resource centers for women. During the rest of the year, the play is performed in thousands of communities and colleges worldwide, and this year, Drexel University is doing the honors.

V-Day at Drexel is directed by our very own Suzanne Noll, manager of leaning and development for Drexel Human Resources. Noll has directed two performances of “The Vagina Monologues” previously, making Drexel her third. The previous two were held in Harrisburg in association with nonprofit organizations. Having been an actor herself, Noll was asked to assist with the direction of the 2009 and 2010 performances in Harrisburg. After coming to Drexel in 2011, Noll had the vision to showcase a Vagina Monologues at Drexel that incorporated students, faculty and staff and benefited a local nonprofit organization. Consequently, all proceeds go to the women of Haiti and Dawn’s Place.

Dawn’s Place is a nonprofit organization that supports women affected by commercial sexual exploitation by providing various services. It aims to raise awareness through education, prevention, public policy reform and community collaborations. Their mission is to try to improve the lives of sexually exploited women by providing transitional housing, trauma recovery services, vocational training and other services.

“We hope to reach out to students, family members and other interested parties to help spread the message to fight against violence toward women. This, in turn, will help build a better future for all of womanhood,” Noll said.

A few facts should be included to give “The Vagina Monologues” a greater context. Globally, at least one in three women and girls is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. Four million women and girls are trafficked annually. Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. A research study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania suggests that about 2,100 allegations of sexual abuse of children are made every year in Philadelphia. All these statistics go to show the high level of necessity to help protect innocent females against unjust and inhumane practices. The V-Day movement is one way to do so.

Drexel student Stephanie Mayer, who presents one of the monologues, says that as a freshman, she has enjoyed taking part in a production a little bit outside her comfort zone. Mayer adds, “Hearing about the number of rapes in Philadelphia itself has made me a little bit scared, but it’s all the more reason to fight against sexual violence.”

Krystle Wilson, a Drexel student, said that her main aim in doing this production is to create an overall impact against abuse toward women.

“My experience has been a lot of fun. We get to see people’s personalities through their monologues, which bring it to life. Everyone is unique, which is great because it builds a close-knitted community of women,” Wilson said.

The Democratic Republic of  the Congo, particularly the eastern region of the country, is known as the “rape capital of the world.” Recently, however, women are arising out of these inhumane shackles of their society. In honor of the women of the Congo who are rising in the face of the impossible, V-Day is calling the 1 billion survivors of violence on every continent of the planet to join and RISE. On Feb. 14, 2013, you are invited and challenged to walk out of your homes, schools and jobs to strike and dance. Join ONE BILLION RISING to take a stand against violence toward women. Text BILLION to 50555 or sign up at vday.org/billion.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for Drexel students with ID. Tickets are also available at www.vdaydrexel.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact [email protected] or 215-895-2662.