An annual favorite returned to Bridgewater State University recently.
Female BSU students collaborated with the Taunton location of New Hope, a non-profit organization, to put on three performances of The Vagina Monologues this past week. These performances took place on April 22-24, with 6 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday.
The performances were directed by Danielle Galstian, Ruby DeLaRosa, and Lindsey Blais. Twenty-two other BSU women acted in the play, many of them in multiple monologues each. BSU has been performing this play annually for the past few years and continues to get a great turnout.
The monologues mixed comedy and tragedy to highlight the struggles that women face every day, throughout the world. All proceeds for the shows went to New Hope in Taunton, who sponsored the performance and had a booth at the performances with information about their organization. They were also available for counseling if any audience members were triggered by the sensitive topics mentioned during the performances.
New Hope is a non-profit organization that works towards “ending domestic and sexual violence in our community” according to their mission statement. They believe that this is incredibly important because domestic and sexual violence are often connected, and it is vital to work to end both. The organization helps women, men, and children who have become victims and who are looking for a way out.
The organization was started in 1979 by Edith Palmer, a resident of Attleboro, Massachusetts. Originally, the main focus of the organization was to serve as a hotline that women who were faced with domestic violence could call.
It has then grown into an organization that serves 54 communities in Mass. Their services now include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, Safeplan advocates in court, supervised visitation, and housing stabilization.
According to reported statistics from studies on domestic abuse that were found on the New Hope website, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Most of the time, however, many incidents of domestic violence go unreported, mainly out of fear.
Another startling statistic is that every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic and sexual abuse affect the LGBT community just as often, and domestic violence in same-sex relationships are often reported as well.
Although The Vagina Monologues specifically looks at the struggles of women, New Hope helps males who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse as well.
The Vagina Monologues were written and created by Eve Ensler. Ensler is a Tony-award winning playwright who has written a number of other plays, including The Good Body, Emotional Creature, Lemonade, and In the Body of the World.
The Vagina Monologues inspired Esnler to create V-day, which is an activist movement that works to end violence against women and girls, according to Ensler’s website. The most recent global campaign, One Billion Rising, was mentioned in the finale of last week’s performances of The Vagina Monologues.
The goal of the show was to “open the eyes of people who are unaware of struggles many women face during their lifetimes,” according to the directors.
The performance was divided up into twenty-one different monologues. Each monologue was based on interviews conducted by Ensler. She interviewed over 200 women for the play, according to The Eves, which was the introduction of the Monologues. All the women involved were excited to be part of something that raised awareness about the sexism and abuse that is prevalent in our society.
For more information about the New Hope organization, visit their website at new-hope.org. To talk to someone about incidents of domestic violence or sexual assault, call New Hope’s hotline at 1-800-323-4673.
Samantha Correia is a staff writer for The Comment.