V-Week aims to enlighten

Activities, such as performances of “The Vagina Monologues,” also serve to entertain.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Women’s Center and six other MU organizations are sponsoring V-Week, a series of events that culminates in two productions of “The Vagina Monologues.”

V-Day is a nonprofit corporation created in 1998 that strives to end violence against women. Communities and universities around the world produce “The Vagina Monologues” in order to raise money for V-Day, and the organization uses the money to fund things such as anti-violence programs, safe houses and women’s shelters.

The “V” in V-Day stands for three things: vagina, victory and valentine.

“We took V-Day and turned it into a V-Week,” said Mary Struble, a Women’s Center staff member and the advertising and marketing chairwoman of MU’s version of “The Vagina Monologues.”

On Monday, MU’s V-Week kicked off with a sexual-health discussion panel. A health educator and two medical students discussed ways for people to talk to their sexual partners, the importance of medical checkups, how to have a healthy sex life and how to say no to sex.

The second V-Week event was “Vagina Jeopardy,” a trivia contest that was held Tuesday night in Memorial Union. There were three contestants in the game, and “Alexis Trebek” asked them questions from categories such as orgasms, global issues and anatomy.

In addition to writing all of the “Vagina Jeopardy” questions, an events planning committee formulated all the V-Week events.

“Raising awareness is our major goal,” said Mandy Hall, the chairwoman of the events-planning committee.

Today’s events are a Rape Aggression Defense demonstration at 1 p.m. in the lower level of Brady Commons and a vigil for the women of Juarez, Mexico, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Union’s Benton/Bingham Ballroom.

According to Court TV’s “Crime Library” Web site, hundreds of young women have been raped and murdered in the city since 1993. Police have arrested dozens of suspects, but the body count continues to rise.

“You have to bring flashlights because it’s inside, and fire codes won’t let us have candles, so it’s a candlelight vigil with flashlights,” Struble said. One of Thursday’s events is a vagina art fair that will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 234 of Brady Commons. Activities will include finger painting, making vulva puppets and carving vaginas out of soap. The other two events are “Voices for Vaginas: Open Mic Night” at 5:30 p.m. at Ragtag Cinemacafe, and “V-Allies: Conversations about Masculinity and Sexuality” at 7:30 p.m. in Room 103A of MU’s Arts and Science Building.

“Sometimes it’s hard for guys to see how they can be masculine and still be caring and fight for women’s rights,” Struble said.

Two performances of “The Vagina Monologues” close out V-Week. They will take place at 7 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium on Friday and Saturday. Tickets, which are available at the Missouri Students Association box office in Brady Commons, cost $5 for students and $10 for others. The money goes to the V-Day foundation and also to women’s shelters in Columbia.

“The whole point of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is to raise awareness about violence against women and to raise money,” Struble said. “It’s just really, really empowering, and I really hope that people show up for the play.”

Chrissy Siviletto, a Women’s Center staff member, said V-Week is an important series of events.

“I think it brings women issues into focus for the campus community,” she said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to get together, have fun and learn.”

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