In a conservative society like Grenada, a play titled ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is bound to raise eyebrows, which is precisely its point. The award-winning play, written by Eve Ensler, is meant to shock, forcing society to face the realities of taboo themes like violence against women and girls, and putting persons at ease to discuss these difficult issues thus aiding in the fight against them. The campaign has gained global participation and the play is put on each year in countries around the world. Putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak, the movement doesn’t stop at raising awareness but also raises funds to directly tackle these issues.
This year, St. George’s University students, faculty and staff, together with associates from the local community, put on the Vagina Monologues for the sixth consecutive year. Over EC$15,800 was raised from the proceeds of the play, sponsorship from the SGU Student Government Association, Jones Browne and Hubbard (Grenada) Ltd., Food Fair and the Grenada Bottling Company and the sale of chocolates and white ribbons. This money will be donated to Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW), the Cedar’s Home for Abused Women and Their Children, Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (GrenCHAP) and GrenAIDS.
Total funds raised by the group for local and international women’s causes over the six years it has put on the production now exceeds EC$70,000. Alyssa Bierzynski, media and sponsorship coordinator for the group, comments: “We have to acknowledge that here at home in Grenada the issues are real and gender-based violence does exist. We have to stop blaming the victims and we need to stand in support of those who need our help.”
Sacha Pierre, the main organiser for the event, stressed that the production is not just about entertainment. “The Vagina Monologues leaves theatre goers with a real message, with hope and, with any luck, the spirit of activism,” she commented. She also highlighted that it is not only about women: “Productions of the Vagina Monologues aim to raise awareness among both men and women about domestic and sexual abuse and general acts of violence against women. We have had in the past, and continued to have this year, several men who have given of their time to contribute to this production.”
On March 8, voices for gender equality and against violence against women and girls were again raised around the globe on International Women’s Day.