The concept of women and their rights has always been subject to much discussion. The topic is still prevalent due to the established culture of victim-blaming and legislative efforts that would make certain aspects of being a free and healthy woman difficult, if not altogether impossible. It is crucial, then, that when Voices for Women (V4W) brings V-Day to campus that it is celebrated and embraced.
V-Day (the V standing for Victory, Valentine and Vagina) started in 1998 and is dedicated to ending violence against women. Some colleges and organizations expand V-Day into V-Week during what is known as V-Season (Feb. 1 – April 30). V4W, an organization under the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), seeks to empower women at Rollins while educating community members on issues of feminism, gender equality and domestic violence. V4W also takes the week to highlight the prevalence of sexual violence against women on colleges, spreading information, and informing people that there are resources to help available and that love and support after abuse may be provided, regardless of gender. The organization has been doing V-Week for over five years. This year, Rollins’ V-Week started March 26, and ran through April 3.
Events kicked off on March 26 at 7 p.m. with a Fairvilla presentation in Sullivan House. While Fairvilla does not carry the steam-powered vibrators used in 1869, it does sell modern ones as well as goods promoting sexual wellness, including latex-free condoms. The rest of the week’s events included breast casting, movie nights, V-Town, Voices for Women’s student-run production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on Friday and Saturday night, and a Take Back the Night march. Proceeds from T-shirt and The Vagina Monologues ticket sales went to Harbor House of Central Florida, Orlando’s domestic violence shelter.
At noon on April 2, organizations gathered on Mary Jean Plaza to inform the community about women’s issues. Members of the Muslim Student Association and Introverts United had games dispelling misconceptions typically held about Muslim women and introverts. The Rollins Self-Defense Club gave demonstrations. Planned Parenthood returned, bringing a penis ring toss game as well as samples and explanations of contraceptives. Spectrum (Rollins’ LGBTIQQA organization) was also present, offering refreshments.
V-Week and its associated events will always be important. Promoting discussion and information, V-Week provides an atmosphere that should persist on campus on a daily basis.