V-Day: Starting A Discussion

By, Alexandrea Velez, Contributor

V-Day is more than a play. It’s a performance representing the belief that when art and activism are combined, there will be a change in culture. 

Eve Ensler, an activist and the author of The Vagina Monologue, founded V-Day in 2012. She has inspired individuals around the world to raise money and awareness for intersections between violence and gender. 

V-Day Fundraisers and performances created by artists, survivors and activists have raised over $120 million dollars for organizations that help women, such as anti-violence groups, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and safe houses. 

Anna Burnett, a senior political science major, brought the V-Day legacy to Manhattan College this month, on Sunday, Feb. 13. In this session, Burnett opened up with multiple statistics on violence against women, and emphasized the importance of V Day for women.

As a survivor of sexual assault herself, her goal is to continue raising awareness of the V Day message. 

“I think it is very important to destigmatize sexual assault,” Burnett said.

Later on in the interview she emphasized the importance of protecting survivors from stigma.

 “Only the people who are willing to speak up about their experience [should], as it can be retraumatizing to talk about those experiences, especially because of how stigmatizing it is.”
There was a small group of speakers for the event, including Anna Burnett, Ally Mejia, Luis Chavez, Schuyler Alpaugh, Rosy Moody, Sydney Collins and Jill Tuthill.

Matt Herlihy, a junior accounting major, was in attendance at the play.

“[All the performers] were great. I thought it was a very diverse group of readings, some movie quotes, some from TV shows and some from literature,” wrote Herlihy in an email to the Quadrangle. 

This will not be the group’s last project. In the upcoming weeks there will be an anonymous Google Form for individuals to share artwork, poetry, stories or experiences. This will be a creative outlet for women and for survivors. The submissions will be posted to an Instagram page dedicated to V-Day to form solidarity. 

The National V-Day Organization states that one in three women will experience sexual violence. Although women have made a lot of progress, this statistic is still from 2021. The sad reality is that this staggering number of women will receive some form of physical harm in their lifetime.

To understand the meaning behind V-Day, the point of view of survivors must be learned and reinforced. V-Day recognizes four main crimes against women, these being sexual harrassment, sexual assault, rape and general abuse or domestic violence. Focusing solely on rape as a main form of violence against women minimizes the struggle women face.

The main message of V-Day is for survivors to speak up about their experiences. Anna Burnett is creating an outlet for all survivors to do so at Manhattan College.

Sean Powers, a junior CIS major, also attended the play. “Overall, the themes of the performance felt sad to me,” he wrote in an email to the Quad. “I enjoyed hearing all of the different perspectives on relationships (whether they be romantic or not) in all of the unique situations. All of the readings made me think.”