Every February, “The Vagina Monologues” is performed roylaty-free across the world with 100% of proceeds benefitting anti-violence groups. The theme for the 20th anniversary is “Rise, Resist, Unite.” “The Vagina Monologues” has been performed in over 140 countries and raised over $100 million (photo from project-safe.org).

Lauren Jackson, Staff Writer

On March 8, the JSU Sociology Club and Women’s Issues Support and Empowerment (WISE) will host the tenth annual performance of “The Vagina Monologues” in the Leon Cole Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 7 p.m.

Eve Ensler wrote the play twenty years ago, and the JSU performance will be directed by student Chibuzo Harbor. The play spotlights violence against women globally and raises funds to benefit local organizations. Student admission is $5, and public admission is $10. The production will be performed by local women and girls that are generally not trained as actresses so the emotionality of their experiences can be captured.

Tyler Gay is the student organizer of the event and became involved after attending last year’s performance.

“This is an issue that is important to me. I saw how impactful it was and knew I needed to get involved,” said Gay.

The play features the stories of women and girls around the globe and is performed by local student and alumni at JSU. Dr. Tina Deshotels is the faculty member over the production.

Deshotels said, “The event is raising awareness that there is a problem with violence against women. It gives women the chance to share their experience through other women’s experiences and voices. It is often easier to share when the story is not your own. It also gives the audience the chance to experience it.”

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JSU’s 2018 “Vagina Monologues” poster by Brandon Vernon (via @jsu_sga/Instagram)

This year’s performance will also feature special guests.

Lilly Ledbetter, a fair pay activist will be in attendance to the event. Ledbetter spoke out about unequal pay at Goodyear in Gadsden and became a national advocate for fair pay.

Veronica Kennedy will also be in attendance. Kennedy broke the story of her sexual assault by former Anniston Star publisher, H. Brandt Ayers earlier this year. In having local advocates, the event connects the global and local issues women face.

“We are very fortunate to have local advocates that are also national advocates. We are proud of our local activists,” Deshotels said.

“The Vagina Monologues” is part of the V-Day movement which is an international movement to end violence against women. The proceeds from JSU’s event will be benefitting local and international charities. Second Chance, Inc. will be receiving 90% of the profit and the other 10% will be directed towards the V-Day campaign to continue hosting events like “The Vagina Monologues.”

Second Chance is based in Anniston and is a local domestic violence and sexual assault prevention center. According to their website, their programs include 24-hour crisis hotlines, emergency shelter, support groups and counseling services among other things. All services are free to domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors.

For students that have not attended the event before, Gay says, “expect the unexpected. It is so powerful, it is hard to put into words. It’s emotional. It’s shocking. It’s a must see and must experience.”

Dr. Deshotels says, “It is art-it crosses the boundary between humor and tragedy. You laugh and you cry.”

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