V-Day Announces Its 2007 Season: Reclaiming Peace
WOMEN IN CONFLICT ZONES HIGHLIGHTED AT THREE THOUSAND BENEFITS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES AND COMMUNITIES WORLDWIDE
FUNDS RAISED LOCALLY BENEFIT LOCAL WOMEN’S
PROGRAMS, SHELTERS AND CRISIS CENTERS
SPECIAL EVENTS HELD IN DUBAI, SOUTH AFRICA, AND HAITI
E-Cards In Time For Valentine’s Day
Since 1998, the V-Day movement has worked to stop violence against women and girls worldwide. V-Day’s model of ‘empowerment philanthropy’ has been a catalyst for activists, college students and anti-violence organizations to transform their communities in more than 112 countries to date. Between February 1 and March 8 (International Women’s Day) 2007, over 3000 V-Day benefits will take place in over 1120 communities and on college campuses. From Nigeria to NYU, China to DePaul University, from New Zealand to University of Puerto Rico, local activists will stage benefit productions of “The Vagina Monologues” raising funds and awareness for local anti-violence groups, rape crisis centers, and women’s shelters in their communities.
V-Day’s 2007 theme Reclaiming Peace makes the connection between the worldwide anti-violence work of V-Day activists with our collective desire for peace and an end to armed conflicts. “We are saying that if a government supports the use of force, weapons, violence as a method of control and dominance, this models and gives license to the same kind of behavior at home,” stated V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler.
V-Day 2007 events will put forth this message of peace generating attention, newspaper articles, and raising funds to support their anti-violence work and dedication to peaceful means. For the first time, V-Day will offer a special version of its logo, playing off this theme. The theme will resonate in the United States and around the world and will expand on V-Day’s successful 2006 season, during which over 2700 V-Day benefit events were presented by national and international volunteer activists, educating millions of people about the issue of violence against women and girls, raising nearly $4 million and benefiting over 1100 anti-violence groups.
Each year V-Day spotlights a particular group of women who are experiencing violence, with the goal of raising awareness to put a worldwide media spotlight on this area and to generate funds to aide groups who are addressing it. In 2007 the V-Day Spotlight will be on Women in Conflict Zones because war exponentially increases the crimes of violence against women and girls. In equal measure the strength and resilience of women in rebuilding their communities and leading governments to peaceful solutions needs to be celebrated. For women, not just during war but for decades to come, armed conflict means escalated military, sexual, and domestic violence, lack of security as a displaced person or refugee, and vulnerability to sex traffickers and coerced prostitution even by the peacekeepers themselves. Given the 21st century’s escalating armed conflicts, impunity for wartime sexual violence cannot be tolerated. As patterns of wartime rape and sexual violence continue today in places such as Sudan, Congo, and Iraq, it is paramount to expose and condemn these crimes through international media coverage and public outcry and efforts in the communities themselves.
In January 2007, V-Day's Karama Program completed a two-day national workshop in Morocco, with events in Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt planned for February and March. Through V-Day Karama, local leaders bring activists and experts together to address violence as both a cause and an effect of the challenges facing the country's politics, economics, health, art/culture, education, media, laws, and religious debates. V-Day Karama is taking a small delegation of women activists to the United Nations at the end of February 2007 to participate in the annual session of Commission on the Status of Women, where our delegation will organize the first NGO Caucus for the Middle East and North Africa among the international advocates.
In March 2007, the 1st Beirut International Women’s Forum will convene women leaders, politicians, executives, journalists, and activists from across the Middle East region. Convened in Dubai by the Arab League, the UN, V-Day and Al Hasnaa magazine, the Forum will capture the transformation taking place in the world of Arab women, identify emerging trends for women in civil society, business, and politics, while providing a platform to debate major aspects of the lives of Arab women such as working motherhood and women's bodies as power.
In May 2007, the 1st workshop for V-Day activists in Africa will take place bringing together women and men from 23 countries to develop a V-Day Africa Coalition. Across Africa, local V-Day activists have been developing tools, power and resources for African women to control their bodily security in sexual relationships, zones of armed conflict, and against abuse. At the workshop, women leaders and activists in Africa will join together to look at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and violence against women, developing strategies and actions to combat these issues.
In April 2007, V-Day will travel to Haiti for the 1st time. With benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” in Port Au Prince and satellite performances by local women in rural and outlying communities, V-Day will inform and educate the world about the horrific rapes and abuses that have been taking place for decades.
In the summer of 2007, V-Day’s Until The Violence Stops Festival, successfully originated in New York City in 2006, will be replicated by V-Day organizers in Ohio and Kentucky, bringing together women’s groups in those states to stand strong and demand an end to violence in their communities.
And in February, V-Day supporters can send specially designed Valentine’s e-cards in honor of loved ones, friends and families.
Empowering women the world over has been V-Day’s greatest joy. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing from organizers, beneficiaries, and audiences that the work being done in their communities is creating safety, healing and inspiration for all women, men and children.