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V-Day Europe Announced

02/17/2004

Contact: Sian Morgan (europe@vdayuk.org), Tel: +442079684825

16 February 2004, London, UK: V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, has launched V-Day Europe on 14 February (Valentine’s Day) 2004. It is the European branch of the global movement working to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women worldwide that was inspired by its founder and playwright Eve Ensler’s play ”The Vagina Monologues”.

V-Day Europe’s website www.vdayeurope.org provides information in English, French and German and invites groups all over Europe to join the movement. National coordinators in the UK, France, Germany and Luxembourg have joined forces to promote V-Day in Europe, with the support of the European Commission.

„The EC’s support is very important for the movement. It will not only help us to support European local groups and volunteers, but will also enable us to learn from each other and to develop transnational partnerships.” says V-Day Europe representative Karin Heisecke. Eve Ensler, playwright and founder of the V-Day movement, adds: "We are thrilled that the women of Europe are coming together as one. We applaud the European Commission on joining V-Day in our efforts to end violence against women and to create a united front."

V-Day stages benefit performances, organizes innovative and creative events, films and programmes to raise funds, educate and change social attitudes towards violence against women. Through V-Day, local volunteers and university students produce benefit performances of Ensler’s play „The Vagina Monologues” to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities and to revitalize the spirit of these organisations. V-Day events are celebrations of the female body as a thing of beauty, not to be violated. V-Day Europe brings together experienced and dedicated theatre practitioners with women’s rights activists. V-Day Veterans Tamsin Larby of V-Day UK and Marie Cecile Renauld of V-Day France are joined by Serge Basso de March in Luxembourg and Alrun Schleiff in Germany, as well as the acclaimed European expert on violence against women, Prof. Liz Kelly. Together they will work to support local organisers, to mobilise political and public support in the participating countries and at the broader European level, and develop a sustainable and expanding multidisciplinary network in Europe to end violence against women and girls.

„The Vagina Monologues” has been translated into over 25 languages and has been performed in over 41 countries. In 2003, over 1,000 V-Day benefit events were presented around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. It its six years, the V-Day movement has raised over 20 million US$. In Europe, V-Day is the strongest in the UK, where there have been over 50 events in the past years, whereas it has not been known to the same extent in Germany, France and Luxembourg. This is set to change now. Between 14 February and mid-March, V-Day performances of “The Vagina Monologues” will take place in Trier, Saarbrücken, Frankfurt am Main, Bochum and Bremen, in Paris, Brest and other cities in France. To mark International Women’s Day, an international team in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg will host a V-Festival throughout the month of March 2004 with a wide range of women’s art events, performances of “The Vagina Monologues” in French and German and culminating in a transnational, multilingual V-Day performance on 14 March 2004 that brings together all European partners in a celebration of the movement. London will see on the 8th of March V-Day Westminster, the first ever performance of “The Vagina Monologues” by women politicians of all political parties, and there will be over 70 local performances across the UK.

In 2004, V-Day puts the spotlight on the missing and murdered women of Juarez, Mexico. On Valentine’s Day, the movement led, together with Amnesty International and many other organizations, a global march on Juarez to denounce the unacceptable situation.

The V in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

www.vdayeurope.org