Hi fellow classmates. Did my title catch your eyes? Did it make you uncomfortable?
Have you walked pass the Luther hall in the last few days? Have you ever wondered what’s happening with the women in black and white photos? Yep, it’s the annual Wartburg College V-Day campaign.
First, a little background information. The V-Day campaign is part of a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. At Wartburg College this year, two performances of Even Ensler’s Vagina Monologue will be presented to raise awareness. Along with the fund raised from the silent auction will be donated to the Cedar Valley Friends and Family.
Last year this week, I got a chance to go to the performances presented by students and faculty. As a floor event, my RA invited all the girls to go and listen to the stories collected from women all over the world. It was funny, it was inspiring, it was outrageously mad and sad at the same time, and yes, it made me uncomfortable. Coming from a very conservative family in a conservative culture, even feminism is considered unconventional. I will never forget the conversation I had with my mom last Christmas break. She told me that there are three types of people in the world: Men, Women, and Women with a PhD degree. Women with strong opinions and very high educational background will seem intimidating and will probably live in between books, successful, but alone. I need to tone myself down. So you see, talking about vaginas would make me uncomfortable.
But perhaps it’s that little bit of un-comfortableness that makes the show seemed so attractive for me. Most of the topics that needs to be addressed often brings some level of uneasiness. From polar differences in political ideologies, to the diversity in religion and culture. So is talking about vagina. Just like dancing on the edge with the trill of falling off, I joined the crew this year, delivering a piece called “My vagina was my village”. I’ve attached the piece of monologue here, to give you a sneak peak of the show:
Bosnian women refugees were interviewed during the war in Yugoslavia, in refugee camps and centers.
Between 1992 and 1995, fifty to sixty-thousand women were raped in the middle of Europe as a systematic tactic of war. Around the world we see this atrocious violence repeated in violent conflict: at the height of the war over minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo 1,152 women were raped every day – that’s 48 per hour – totaling over 420,000 women in one year (2006-2007), many of whom were raped multiple times, in Colombia nearly 500,000 women were raped between 2001-2009, in a nine month period over 200,000 women were raped in Bangladesh in the 1970’s, and numbers are yet to be determined for the women who are currently suffering though systematic sexual violence in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and South Sudan.
It is shocking to see how little people do to stop it or even acknowledge it. But, then again, in the United States, each year, about two hundred thousand women are raped, which is another kind of war.
This monologue is based on one woman’s story. We do it tonight for that woman and the extraordinary women of Bosnia and Kosovo.
MY VAGINA WAS MY VILLAGE
WOMAN 1 (Lily Zheng)
My vagina was green, water soft pink fields, cow mooing sun resting sweet boyfriend touching lightly with soft piece of blonde straw.
WOMAN 2 (Sneha Mahapatra)
There is something between my legs. I do not know what it is. I do not know where it is. I do not touch. Not now. Not anymore. Not since.
My vagina was chatty, can’t wait, so much, so much saying words talking, can’t quit trying, can’t quit saying, oh yes, oh yes.
Not since I dream there’s a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line. And the bad dead animal smell cannot be removed. And its throat is slit and it bleeds through all my summer dresses.
My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bell ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.
Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me. So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart. Don’t know whether they’re going to fire it or shove it though my spinning brain. Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too. There were sticks and the end of a broom.
My vagina swimming river water, clean spilling water over sun-baked stones over stone clit, clit stones over and over.
Not since I heard the skin tear and made lemon screeching sounds, not since a piece of my vagina came off in my hand, a part of the lip, now one side of the lip is completely gone.
My vagina. A live wet water village. My vagina my hometown.
Not since they took turns for seven days smelling like feces and smoked meat, they left their dirty sperm inside me. I became a river of poison and pus and all the crops died, and the fish.
My vagina a live wet water village.
They invaded it. Butchered it and burned it down.
I do not touch now.
Do not visit.
I live someplace else now.
I don’t know where that is.
If f you’ve made it this far in to the post, the performance will be this Thursday and Friday, at 7:30 p.m. in Lyceum, tickets will be available for $5 at the door.
Sources: Vagina Monologue, Eve Ensler, 1996.
Women Under Siege Project http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/