Play gathers support for prevention

Jessica Knieff

As part of the One Billion Rising revolution, Washburn University joined organizations around the world to celebrate V-day with performances of the Vagina Monologues a series of monologues describing women’s experiences with violence and sexism.

The One Billion Rising revolution is a stand in solidarity with the one in three women (around 1 billion women total) who will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, as described by their website.

V-Day, a celebration of One Billion Rising, was started when Eve Ensler gave permission for her 1996 play, the Vagina Monologues, to be performed freely without paying royalties.The only condition is that those performing this play must charge admission and donate proceeds to local organizations that fight violence against women and children.

This play has sparked involvement around the globe and here at Washburn. Groups around the world take the month of February to celebrate V-Day through the Vagina Monologues and other events as the largest mass action to fight violence against women in history.

Sharon Sullivan, a professor at Washburn, has been involved with the Vagina Monologues for seventeen years and was involved with its beginning years on campus at Washburn nearly fifteen years ago.

“It’s empowering to know that all over the world during this one month, people are performing this play.” Sullivan said.

Marissa Meis, a senior mass media and theater major, was the student director of this year’s Vagina Monologues. She said when she first saw the play two years ago, she was mortified yet inspired by the controversial content.

Meis said that she thinks people enjoy watching the Vagina Monologues so much because the topics covered are things that many women relate to, but never get the chance to talk about.

“While you’re in that audience watching that show it’s almost as if you’re getting to talk about it,” Meis said.

Sullivan said the content of this play is not just important to women. When such a large portion of the population is experiencing violence and cannot do their best, it effects everyone.

“If you’re trying to figure out how to survive a rape or how to be safe in your own home, then you’re not finding the cure for cancer or teaching children how to read,” Sullivan said.

Annastasia Glover, a senior English major, attended the Vagina Monologues. She said that she was challenged and entertained by the play’s content.

“The play humanizes tragedies that are often times ignored or viewed as inevitable,” Glover said. “Violence against women is not inevitable.”

Glover said that events like this one should be continued to shed light on these issues and to donate time and funding to eliminate tolerance for violence.

Meis said she was “so humbled and excited at how well it all came together, with the help of the Leadership Institute, STAND, and many other campus individuals and organizations.”