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The V-Day Moment: It Lasts a Lifetime

Hibaaq Osman, V-Day Special Representative to the Middle East

How can I put into words what being part of V-Day has meant to me? How I have been blessed to have worked, shared and been part of this movement alongside Eve. She has given me so much. She has trusted me and supported me and believed in me. She has created a space where new ideas, revolutionary ideas, can grow and thrive and change the world. She supported and embraced the idea of establishing V-Day Karama in the Middle East at a time, after 9/11, when this region was characterized as a terrorist region with terrorist ideas. She took a chance. Eve’s generosity of spirit and friendship is matched by her generosity in funding. Her words have inspired, but her decision to back them with her own resources has allowed an idea to become a movement.

And this is so important. The revolution we are working for will not be a revolution without people in different places trusting in an idea. An idea that moves you intellectually and emotionally and politically; an idea that is so passionately held that sometimes sadness, anger and doubt, together with a bit of happiness, excitement and hope, are all mixed together so that you feel them at the same time.

It's the belief of V-Day that everyone can make a difference. This is the ideology of V-Day that people are so drawn to. V-Day demolishes the fallacy that power cannot be passionate. You don't have to read a chart, you don't have to have a manual. All you need is the passionate belief that we can change things, that we can end violence, that we will make a difference if we work together.

Women are already on the front line. Every woman has a story to tell, whether she has come across V-Day already, or will do so tomorrow. Because I believe she will come across V-Day one day. Whatever her story, sad or happy, it’s her story. It is her past, her present, and above all it is her future. The pain of our collective past, the passion of the present, and the belief in tomorrow draws us as women to V-Day. This is its power: the belief that we are in control of tomorrow. Yesterday we lived in the shadows. Today we are awakening. Tomorrow we change and begin to build a fairer and more peaceful and dignified world.

As women, we become stronger when we know that we are not alone. V-Day gives us the knowledge and the security that we are not the only ones who have lived through something terrible, that the strongest of women have been through it too and expressed the same feelings. We may not all speak the same language, but we do all understand that in V-Day there is no judgment. It's the moment when you feel safe, and it’s in that moment of safety that you are willing to share who and what you really are. It's that moment, after you have felt so alone for so long, that you really feel you're meeting people for the first time. It's that V moment.

It's the moment you say, “I'm scientific about vagina and passionate about vagina and confused about vagina.” It's that journey during which you become one with your body, with your mind and with your soul. It's that moment when you share something with others and feel as though a load has been lifted from your shoulders. It's that moment when you go to different places, different cultures and different moods to share, to listen, to encourage and to support: to do the V magic.

And this is the moment when you are ready to take the risk. You are no longer afraid to stand up, because you have embraced an idea. You know the idea. You live by the idea and in the knowledge that it is possible to build a world in which violence against women can end. The idea is constant, it is persistent. You never lose sight of it and you'll do whatever it takes to make it a reality. And living this idea you bring others with you.

This is the difference between being a victim and being a woman of substance. And here we all are, among friends and supporters, because this is the moment that V-Day has made possible, bringing us all together, making us believe in ourselves and believe in each other and believe that change is possible and that a world free of violence against women is something we can and will create together. This is truly the V moment. This is what Eve has given women around the world a chance to discover. Once experienced, it can never be taken away. V-Day is a state of mind.

Hibaaq Osman
V to the Tenth, New Orleans
April 2007

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