V-Day 2011 events begin this month

Staci Poston, Assistant Editor

Students and faculty are joining together to plan for this year’s V-Day events, which are part of a movement to enhance awareness of and bring an end to violence against women and girls.

Francis Marion University celebrates V-Day for an entire week, which is called V-Week.  This spans from Monday, March 28 to Saturday, April 2.  All proceeds from the events that take place will go to the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault.

“The V-Week activities should help the students to realize that certain events, acts, or even comments are geared to hurting individuals,” Derek Turner, student coordinator of events, said. “I believe that the realization of this will cause people to be less inclined to commit these certain events, acts, or comments.  Thus, the violence might, and hopefully will, stop one day.”

The first event, a poetry slam, will take place before V-Week, on Thursday, March 10.  It will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Aroma Underground.

Jessica Upchurch, a senior majoring in English who helped coordinate this event, said that the event will have the theme of love – for a friend, for family, for a significant other and for oneself.  During the event, bracelets will be sold in order to raise money for the Pee Dee Coalition.

T-shirts with this year’s theme will go on sale after March 10.  Everyone is encouraged to buy and wear a T-shirt to support the cause and help raise awareness.  All proceeds from sales will go to the Pee Dee Coalition.

V-Week officially kicks off on Monday, March 28.  The Gender Studies Program is sponsoring the showing of the film “Until the Violence Stops” in Lowrimore Auditorium at 3:45 p.m.  The film is a documentary in which Eve Ensler explains how “The Vagina Monologues” grew into the international V-Day movement.

After the film, the Clothesline Project will begin.

The Clothesline Project, like all other V-Day events, is geared towards recognizing the issue of violence against women.  People are encouraged to express their emotions by decorating a T-shirt.

English Instructor Lisa Stuchell, publicity coordinator for the V-Week events, explained how the Clothesline Project works.

“We have white T-shirts,” Stuchell said. “You can decorate them and voice your concerns and thoughts about violence against women.”

Each color of marker represents a different form of abuse and whether the victim survived or not.  The color-coded shirts are then hung on a clothesline outside as a tangible exhibit of testimonies against violence.

“We hang the T-shirts up on a line,” Stuchell said. “People can come by and read the messages others have written and hopefully be inspired or touched.”

The Clothesline Project will continue to take place each following day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., until Friday, April 1.

On Tuesday, March 29, a “Manswers” panel will be taking place in Lowrimore Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Turner explained that the “Manswers” panel consists of six individuals who will answer questions asked by the audience.

“Essentially, ‘Manswers’ is an event to help each sex understand the opposite sex as well as the same sex,” Turner said. “By helping to understand one another, the process will help to build, mend, and renew relationships between all individuals.  This event is not geared towards just dating relationships, but all kinds of relationships from acquaintances to friends to siblings to partners in life.”

Wednesday, March 30 is Body Awareness Day (BAD).  Numerous activities will be taking place all day in the University Center commons and on Founders Hall lawn.  Some of these activities include body art, yoga, belly dancing and meditation.

“The purpose of BAD is to assist in having the student population realize how important their bodies are and how to take care of them,” Turner said. “BAD ranges from physical health to emotional health to psychological health.”

On Thursday, March 31, the Gender Studies Program is sponsoring a panel, “SEXplotationand the Cyber-Scene” in Lowrimore Auditorium at 3:45 p.m.

Red Tent, a staple of V-Day, will be set up on CEMC lawn both Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“The Red Tent is supposed to offer a peaceful location for people to think and feel and be,” Stuchell said. “It allows people to pray or meditate for themselves and for others who have been abused or assaulted.  It also offers an opportunity for them to express how they feel in a non-threatening environment.”

The performance of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” will also take place on Friday, April 1 in Chapman Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.  Money from ticket sales will go to the Pee Dee Coalition.

Stuchell said that she hopes many people will attend “The Vagina Monologues” because everyone can benefit from it.

“It’s a performance that touches all emotions-you laugh, you cry, you get angry, you feel sympathy,” Stuchell said. “And you leave there feeling like you have made a difference.”

In addition to these events, collections for Durant’s Children’s Center will be taken at the Richardson Center for the Child every day during the week.

Further information about V-Day is available at www.vday.org