Celebrating Womanhood

Last week, Voices for Women (V4W) displayed a powerful presence on the Rollins campus with V-Week.

Co-sponsored by the Women’s Studies Department and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, V-Week hosted events to educate the campus about issues regarding violence toward women, and just to celebrate women in general.

The week included a discussion with award winning feminist authors, Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, and a brown bag lunch and dialogue with the Lucy Cross Center for Women and their Allies. One of the most attended events was for women only: breast-casting. Over 30 women from across campus gathered in the art building to create a plaster cast of their breasts as a symbol of loving their bodies. Several of the women present proclaimed that it was the greatest experience they had taken part in at Rollins.

The week wrapped up with two performances of The Vagina Monologues, a play written by Eve Ensler to spark discussion about vaginas, women, and feminism. It consists of a range of monologues, including one about pubic hair and its importance, one from the viewpoint of a 72-year-old woman about her first experience with her vagina, several monologues about the horror of rape, one about reclaiming the word “cunt,” and even one about a sex worker who loves to make women moan, performed with full demonstrations of the moans. After Saturday’s performance, a group of faculty, staff, and students gathered at the Mills building to “Take Back the Night.” This group marched through campus, chanting and putting up posters to show that women need not be afraid to go out at night.

Some of the chants included, “Yes means yes, no means no; however we dress, wherever we go!” and “Two, four, six, eight, no more date rape!” Blinds raised and windows opened all around campus as people watched the march.

Afterward, the group returned to the steps in front of Mills and had a Speak Out, where survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence shared their stories. Several students stood up to tell their stories and give hope and inspiration to others. The Speak Out served to show survivors of these acts that they were not alone.

All the proceeds from everything sold, including T-shirts, baked goods and Vagina Monologue tickets, will go directly to Harbor House, a domestic violence shelter in Orlando.

V4W will continue to host V-Week annually to maintain awareness about violence toward women. For more information, or if you have questions or concerns about V4W or women’s issues, contact Kim Hambright (khambright@rollins. edu), Shakirra Meghjee (smeghjee@rollins. edu) or Shea Fuller (sfuller@rollins.edu), the copresidents of V4W, or contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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