The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    ‘Monologues’ raises awareness

    UW-Eau Claire students will come together to help raise awareness of women’s issues this week as part of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women.

    Eau Claire’s diversity task group, Making Our School an Intercultural Community (MOSAIC), is sponsoring three benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”

    MOSAIC public relations coordinator Lia DeLeo said the group hopes to raise both money and a general awareness of women’s issues.

    “Ninety percent of all the money goes to the Bolton Refuge House,” DeLeo said. “We want to sell out the shows and really get students involved.”

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    The Bolton Refuge house is Eau Claire’s shelter for abused and assaulted women. The other 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Global V-Day campaign, De Leo said.

    “Comfort women were basically women and girls in Japan that were forced into sexual slavery during WWII,” she said. The campaign is working toward an apology and compensation from the Japanese government.

    “The Vagina Monologues” was called by Random House publishing “the bible for a new generation of women.” It has been gaining in popularity since it was performed by its author in 2001, and has been making a regular appearance on Eau Claire’s campus.

    Marketing coordinator for MOSAIC Rachel Dederich performed in the play her freshman year, and said off-stage the performers are enthusiastic about their common goals.

    “Everybody is really energetic and excited about why they’re there,” Dederich said. “I think they’re satisfied that they’re doing something to help everybody and not just something to put on their resumes.”

    There are approximately 60 students performing in the play, she said.

    The play centers around issues of women’s sexuality including stories of abuse to staged discussions of incidents and ideas. The play’s intention is to open up discussion of women’s sexuality and raise awareness, but Dederich said people often misunderstand its purpose and can be dismissive. Several performers, she said, have received flak from friends and family for taking part in the production.

    “People are unaware what it’s really about, and that’s what makes it so important,” she said. “They need to realize that this isn’t just an excuse to say the word ‘vagina.’ ”

    Some universities like Marquette have gone so far as to ban the performance, she said.

    Campus news editor of The Marquette Tribune Celia Downes said the Office of Student Affairs denied a student application to perform the play.

    “The president of Student Affairs felt that there were better ways to raise awareness,” Downes said. She said the office also dismissed the application based on what it called “late registration.”

    While the nature of the play makes it an item of controversy in some places, it is supported for many of the same reasons. Senior Elsa Lacher was in the play two years ago, and said she would recommend it to anybody.

    “I think it’s important, because it pushes people’s limits and makes them a little uncomfortable,” Lacher said. “It helps get these concepts out in the open instead of making it all a big secret.”

    “The Vagina Monologues,” will be presented at 7:30 p.m., March 8, 9 and 10 in Schofield Auditorium. Admission is $7 with UW-Eau Claire student ID and $10 general admission.

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    ‘Monologues’ raises awareness