*Photo supplied
*Photo supplied

On Friday, 21st March, 2014, from 12noon – 1pm, V-Day Bermuda will present a lunch hour benefit reading of V-Day’s A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer at City Hall on Church Street.

Last year over 5,800 V-Day benefits were held around the world raising awareness and funds towards ending violence against women. These highly successful events raised over $5 million through performances, readings, film screenings and a documentary. Thanks to students visiting on the Class Afloat programme, Bermuda has joined this global movement as part of the V-Day 2014 Campaign. Funds raised at the City Hall event on Friday will go to the local charity, The Centre Against Abuse.

The student’s goal to host the initiative was first sparked when they visited Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal, which was the final staging ground before the slaves were shipped to the Americas and Caribbean. A Class Afloat staff member was standing with a female student reading about how the captive women of the slave trade would abort their own babies as a form of rebellion against their captors. The teacher and student wondered together about how the African women would do this, and what atrocities they put themselves through. The student then mentioned she was interested in learning more about women’s issues. Because her teacher had been involved in the V-Day campaign several times in her community in Alberta, Canada, she brought it up and the group decided it would be a good idea to pursue their own campaign.

When asked why other students felt the desire to join:

“I felt like doing something different. I think the cause is great. I want to improve my public speaking. I don’t see why I wouldn’t do it.” Guillaume, 1st year university

“The topic interested me. Usually stories are romanticized. These aren’t. These ones are raw.” Romane, Grade 12

“It’s a good cause. I got involved to help raise awareness.” Nicole, Grade 11

“People need to know what’s happening.” Sophie, Grade 12

This special benefit performance is presented this year as part of V-Day’s campaign ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, a global call for women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in places where they are entitled to justice and release their stories through art, dance, ritual, song, spoken word, and heart-felt testimonies.

The general public is invited to attend the event in support of the global and local movement. Any generous donations are welcome and very much appreciated, with 100% of the funds raised going towards the cause, 90% staying in Bermuda with The Centre Against Abuse, and 10% sent to the global V-Day Spotlight campaign, who provide resources worldwide to host such events.

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer: Writings To Stop Violence Against Women and Girls, is a groundbreaking collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights, edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle and commissioned for the first V-Day: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS festival, which took place June 2006 in New York City. Proceeds from the book benefit V-Day.

These diverse voices rise up in a collective roar to break open, expose, and examine the insidiousness of violence at all levels: brutality, neglect, a punch, even a put-down.

The volume features such authors and topics as: Edward Albee on S&M; Maya Angelou on women’s work; Michael Cunningham on self-mutilation; Dave Eggers on a Sudanese abduction; Edwidge Danticat on a border crossing; Carol Gilligan on a daughter witnessing her mother being hit; Susan Miller on raising a son as a single mother; Sharon Olds on a bra; Patricia Bosworth on her own physically abusive relationship; Jane Fonda on reclaiming our Mojo; and many more.

These writings are inspired, funny, angry, heartfelt, tragic, and beautiful. But above all, together they create a true and profound portrait of how violence against women affects every one of us.  The book includes information on how to organize V-Day events and readings of the book. The performance is a call to the world to demand an end to violence against women.