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'Vagina Monologues' Goes to Mexico City


Originally published in:
Associated Press
02/07/2003

By Lisa J. Adams

February 7, 2003, 4:27 PM EST, MEXICO CITY

Eve Ensler is using her off-Broadway hit "The Vagina Monologues" to help fight a decade of rapes and murders on the U.S.-Mexico border. Ensler dedicated a personal performance of the play in Mexico City on Thursday night to Esther Chavez, director of a center that helps thousands of rape and abuse victims in Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million across from El Paso, Texas.

On Friday, Ensler was to join Chavez and other activists on the border to protest the deaths of more than 300 women in Ciudad Juarez during the past decade. Police have confirmed that more than 75 of the cases are related to
a string of rape-murders.

Dozens of suspects have been arrested -- and some convicted -- in the murders. But bodies have continued to turn up in Juarez. "The time has come for the murders and violence in Juarez to come to an end," Ensler said in a tribute to Chavez during her performance. "I was very, very disturbed by the murders, about how covered up they were and how unexamined they were," the performer said later. "Whenever you allow these terrible things to go unnoticed, you plant the seeds of a deeper evil."

Since the show debuted in Mexico City two years ago, it has helped to raise more than $35,000 for the Juarez center, known as Casa Amiga, Chavez said. Mexico is part of a 21-city world tour Ensler is making to promote V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and children. Ensler's play -- which celebrates female sexuality while decrying violence against women -- has been banned at some Catholic colleges in the United States for its frank talk on female genitalia.

Chavez said it has inspired her and countless others to keep fighting for women's rights.

"Knowing Eve changes you inside," she said. "What she does, she does completely. ... She is full of life and the energy just shimmers off of her. This energy has given me strength to continue with my work."