V stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina
V-Day isn’t just a day in February for sweeties to exchange flowers and chocolate. It’s also a global movement to end violence against women and girls.
One out of every three women will experience violence in her life, which leaves over one billion women on this planet to be impacted by violence. This year marks V-Day’s 15th anniversary and the launch of One Billion Rising, their most ambitious campaign to date.
V-Day campaigns are driven by annual benefit performances to increase awareness and raise funds to support local anti-violence organizations. Actors aren’t hired for the performances. Local volunteers and college students produce the well-known Vagina Monologues.
Rosealee Lee, Meeting and Event Management instructor at DCTC, is one of those volunteers. She will be performing at V-Day Bloomington on March 28-30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ramada Bloomington at the Mall. Rosealee shares her experiences with V-Day campaigns and the fight against domestic violence.
Q: How long have you been involved in V-Day?
Rosealee: I’ve been involved in the domestic violence issue for a few decades. V-Day became a focus for me about six years ago when a program alumnus directed a “The Vagina Monologues” production. Since then, the production and its outreach has grown. Sarah Kopczyk is now our director, who is also a program alumnus. Other DCTC faculty members are a part of my group, which is comprised of several women and a few men who share dedication to this cause. Jessica Bartram, my daughter and part-time instructor at DCTC, is always on the cast. It’s especially meaningful for me to share the stage with her to help women and girls. Christine Pigsley, Small Business and Entrepreneurship instructor, is also dedicated to the cause and always part of the production. DCTC students and alumni participate in the production and can be found on the crew and in the audience every night of the performance.
Q: How are others involved in V-Day?
Rosealee: Eve Ensler’s book and Broadway play have evolved into an international organization that speaks up about violence aimed at women and girls. The least that any woman can do is join the chorus of voices that brings awareness of these atrocities, raises funds to support the cause, and frankly, also celebrates women. Vagina Monologues is a play and a movement that responds in a powerful way to domestic violence.
Q: What can someone expect from a performance?
Rosealee: Prepare to laugh, cry and laugh again. The energy in the ballroom is so full of spirit and shared love of women that regardless of your gender, you will be moved. Whether you have a vagina or not, we all came from one, so this is a very personal performance to witness. Each of the monologues are taken from real interviews with real women. Some originate from a single woman’s story and some are composites of several interviews. It is sensitive, sensual and sometimes shocking . . . but it is always moving.
Q: Tell me about your Vagina Monologue.
Rosealee: This year I am performing “The Flood” which emanates from a single interview with a woman I’ve been able to do a little bit of research on. Her name is Gladys Siegelman. At the time of her interview she was 72 years old. Her story was always very moving to me and I never could hear the monologue performed without being tearful. To honor Gladys this year I promise not to tear up, but instead to honor her experience.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about V-Day and the Vagina Monologues?
Rosealee: This is a volunteer initiative. We are particularly thrilled this year that 100 percent of the proceeds go to the cause. Minnesota Women’s Consortium will receive 90 percent of the proceeds and V-Day will receive 10 percent. None of us are professional performers. We’re just like everybody else; overloaded with commitments of life and time-deprived. We have, however, carved out time and energy to shine a light on domestic violence. It’s highly likely that someone you know has been personally impacted by domestic violence. All too often, the experience is hidden behind closed doors. I am always awe-struck that so many individuals of both genders share their domestic violence stories with us. Just last week one of those individuals pointed out why that happens. She said, “The fact that V-Day and The Vagina Monologues exist, gives us permission to talk about it.” I encourage everyone to join us in talking about it and urge you to join us on March 28, 29 and 30. Visit www.vdaybloomington.weebly.com for complete information and the next time you’re at the Ramada Bloomington at the Mall, be sure to thank you them for their amazing support of this event!
V-DAY is an organized response against violence toward women.
V-DAY is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.
V-DAY is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.
V-DAY is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.
V-DAY is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new education, protective and legislative endeavors throughout the world.
V-DAY is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.
V-DAY is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.
V-DAY is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community.