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Called a "social movement," "Vagina Monologues" here Feb. 14

2/11/2002
February 11, 2002

Since last November, several Austin Peay students have been studying and preparing for V-Day.

Taking place on Feb. 14, V-Day is a worldwide movement to stop sexual violence against women and girls and to proclaim Valentine's Day as a time to celebrate women and demand the end of abuse.

According to APSU senior theatre major Ashley Robison of Cadiz, who is serving as APSU's V-Day College Campaign organizer, APSU is one of 700 colleges nationally participating in V-Day activities. V-Day events are planned in 31 countries around the world.

In Tennessee, five universities are participating in V-Day activities: UT-Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech, Vanderbilt University, Rhodes College and APSU.

Austin Peay is the only university in the country awarding three credit hours for a cross-disciplinary course for upper-division students in social work, theatre and women's studies. Fifty-four students enrolled in the class. Others were turned away because the class filled past capacity.

Preceding V-Day at APSU, there will be an art exhibit and sale of V-Day t-shirts, but the centerpiece-both internationally and at APSU-is Eve Ensler's highly acclaimed "The Vagina Monologues."

The play was performed Feb.14, 2001, before a sold-out audience of 18,000 at Madison Square Gardens, raising $2 million to fight violence against women.

A review in "The Los Angeles Times" (10/16/00) said: "'The Vagina Monologues' is not just a play anymore. It's a social movement." A "New York Times" reviewer in 1999 wrote: "It has become something of a phenomenon, performed around the world, in London, Stockholm, Athens, Zagreb and Jerusalem"

Last year, a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" was presented by a local drama group in a chapel on the Vanderbilt University campus. This year the performance will be staged in the Clement Auditorium at 12:30 p.m. A second performance will be offered at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19 in Clement Auditorium.

Admission is $3 per person. Ten percent of all money will go to the nonprofit V-Day Organization to sponsor Afghan refugee women. The remainder is designated for local social service agencies that assist female victims of violence, according to Professor Glenn Carter, chair of the social work department.

The $3 admission fee is a bargain, says Carter. Tickets to an upcoming performance of the play at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) are selling for $22-$45. Award-winning singer Kathy Mattea will join a national touring company for the TPAC event.

Celebrities who have acted in previous productions include Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, Amy Irving, Phylicia Rashad, Brooke Shields, Marlo Thomas, Marisa Tomei and Whoopi Goldberg.

In addition to the APSU performance during the day, "The Vagina Monologues" will be broadcast nationwide on HBO on the evening of Feb. 14.

"Both men and women come away more enlightened after 'The Vagina Monologues." If you believe violence against women is a problem of limited scope, you're mistaken.

Somewhere in America, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. The batterer is often her partner. (United Nations Study on the Status of Women, 2000).
A woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa. (UNISA, 1998). A woman is raped every 21 hours on each college campus in the United States (Campus Outreach Services). More than 130 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to genital mutilation and an additional 2 million girls are at risk (World Health Organization, 1997).

Speaking of the controversial title of her play, Ensler said, "I just don't get that 'vagina' is a dirty word. 'Rape' and "plutonium' and 'acid rain' are dirty words…yet they're on the front page every day."

The play does contain graphic material and is for mature audiences only.

For more information, telephone Carter, 7728, Dr. Sara Gotcher, associate professor of theatre, 6259 or Jill Eichhorn, coordinator of women's studies, 6314.