Students and staff celebrated a different V-Day this Valentine’s, one with less talk about romance and one with more talk about vaginas.
The Alkek library celebrated the 20th anniversary of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 14, V-Day, with a reading of the monologues by students and staff on campus.
The readings were done on a volunteer-basis, and according to Donna Dean and Lorin Flores, library assistants and organizers of the event, the monologues are typically performed by actors.
“We wanted it to be free so that way students did not feel like they could not come because they could not afford it,” Flores said. “The organization V-Day was really gracious and allowed us, they loved the idea of a volunteer reading as well.”
V-Day is an international activist movement, created by Eve Ensler, fighting to end violence against women by increasing awareness and raising money. One of the major events hosted for V-Day is a showing of The Vagina Monologues, which is a great way to raise awareness according to Dean and Flores.
“The library is a safe space, a space for everybody, and this is an important piece,” Dean said. “On College campuses, you deal with dating violence, rape, and rape culture. It felt necessary to have it here.”
Statistics show one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college, and people identifying as LGBTQ have a higher chance of being victims, according to nsvrc.org. Sexual assault and stigmas around women are what inspired student Sarah Long, acting and business freshman, to participate in reading a monologue at the event.
“I think it is something we do not talk about as much as we should,” Long said. “Vaginas are a part of your body and there should not be such a stigma for talking about that sort of thing.”
Long said she usually spends Valentine’s Day Long on a date or with friends, but this year she wanted to finally attend a showing of the monologues.
“I have watched performances online and read the script, but it was not something I would have been allowed to go to growing up in a conservative household,” Long said. “I do not think my mom even ever said the word ‘vagina’.”
Wesley Mory, history freshman, said this was his first encounter with V-Day and the monologues. He said he had come out to support a friend and ended up learning a lot.
“One monologue was about Bosnian women that had been terrible victims of rape and injustice,” Mory said. “It stood out to me because though I could never truly feel what they went through, I could see some of the horrors.”
For those who missed the event on Valentine’s Day, the monologues are available for free online and StoneWall will be hosting a showing Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.