Vagina Monologues raise awareness on violence against women across campus

Xuelu Pan

In conjunction with the movement “One Billion Rising”on V-Day, a benefit production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, will be presented in Andrew J. & Georgia Neese Gray Theatre, Garvey, Washburn University. The play runs for three nights, from February 28 to March 2.

V-Day is a global activist movement to stop violence against women. Each year V-Day features a spotlight topic. For its 15th anniversary V-Day launched “One Billion Rising” this year. Washburn got permission from V-Day and has been presenting The Vagina Monologues since 2005.

Tickets will be sold at noon Feb.25 to Feb 28 in the Memorial Union. Some of the performers came and sat by the information desk for promotion.

Nicole Karungu, a music education sophomore, is one of the performers. This is her first time to present the monologue.

“I personally love to act and be a part of theater productions,” said Karungu. “This play will change your life and perspective on how the world really deals with these issues!”

Another student had a different reason to attend the monologues.

“I do this show because I have experienced this and the show has empowered me to be OK with my experience and fight for it to not happen to other women,” said Michaela Carter.

Except the show tickets, several merchandises for fund-raising will also be available, such as homemade cookies and theme badges. A suggested donation of $10 is requested and the cookies and badges will run at $1 each. According to Sharon Sullivan, the STAND faculty advisor for the play, 90 percent of the proceeds will go to the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment. The remaining 10 percent of the proceeds will directly go to V-Day as the fund for services to those women who are victims of sex violence in the community.

The play has gained much support from the volunteers, Sullivan added. All the people involved participated in an open audition. It was the volunteers who did most of the backstage work and promoting arrangements.

Among those who will go on stage tonight, 11 of them will give their individual monologues. One thing worth noticing is that the presenters are of various sexualities.

Speaking of the expected audience, Sullivan expects about 300-450 people to attend over the three nights.

“We are expecting a larger audience this year,” said Sullivan. “Last year, due to some stage conflicts, we changed the place to Topeka Civil Theater. That theater is small and we had about 100-120 people per act.”

One out of three women in the U.S have been raped at a young age. The staggering statistics takes a heavy toll on people. Fortunately, the situation is changing now. Sullivan thinks it’s encouraging to see more male audience coming.

“At first most of the men who come [to the Vagina Monologues] are forced by their wife or girlfriend,” said Sullivan. “They come here because they want to be the good guy. But gradually more and more men came willingly. Still, some young men seem embarrassed about this topic, but some older men can watch the show and laugh just like the other women do. This year our stage manager and lighting director are both men, and it’s very good to see those changes.”

The play encourages everyone to come see the show. For more information about The Vagina Monologues, please contact Sharon Sullivan, 785-670-2246 or e-mail [email protected]. For more information about V-Day, their website is