A stage for sexual assault stories

Women use vagina monologues to showcase stories about downplayed issues

Story by Katy Macek, Staff Writer

Every year, women from UW-Eau Claire share coming-of-age, sexual assault and other stories in a theatrical performance.

This performance, known as the Vagina Monologues, is sponsored by Eau Claire’s V-Day Campaign, an on-campus part of the global V-Day organization that is working to end violence against females.

The cast is all female, and though this year it is only students, faculty and staff members of Eau Claire are welcome to take part.

Sophomore Aurora Fromcek was a cast member last year and said after everything she learned she was motivated to be involved again.

“The whole experience really opened my eyes with violence against women,” Fromcek said. “I had never truly understood the extent of what was going on throughout the world, and even here at home.”

Fromcek said she recognized a couple of the cast members but was also very happy to see many new faces because it’s a chance to meet people and share stories with other women who have their own unique experiences.

One of the new people she met was Nicolette Nauman, a junior who saw the performance her freshman year and decided to audition this year.
Fromcek said she decided to audition in the hopes of finding some way to talk about difficult issues that need to be heard.

“(Sexual Assault) is a hard problem to address, even in the privacy of your friendships and familial relationships,” Nauman said. “Having it brought out into the public in a way that you don’t have to flat out say what you’re experiences have been-you can put it out through your performance when reading these monologues.”

Because the monologues aren’t memorized, she said, they don’t spend a lot of time rehearsing. Theatrical talent isn’t nearly as important as the content they are sharing with the audience.

“They don’t want us to pretend we are those people,” Nauman said. “They want us to put forth these stories.”

One of the directors of the event this year is senior Tiffany Miller who has never been a part of the performance before.

The V-Day Campaign provides the monologues, Miller said, so all of the stories are there. As one of the directors, it’s her job to present stories in a way that captures the audience’s attention.

She and Antonia Cadwell, the other director, are in charge of other factors including lighting, music and choosing the date of the performance.

Miller decided to audition for a director position because she wanted to get involved with the V-Day campaign and give something back to the community, which these performances raise money for.

“In our community, a lot of the money goes to the Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault on campus,” Miller said. “And also the Bolton Refuge House, which is a shelter for domestic abuse victims that could be women or children.”

The Vagina Monologues begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night in Schofield Auditorium.

In addition to the monologues, there will be a silent auction that starts at 6 p.m., and Audacious, a female a cappella group, will be performing at intermission.