By Dawn Campbell
“I Love VM!” read one of the buttons used as tickets at the production of The Vagina Monologues at Drake University this past weekend. Another button looked like a delicate orchid flower, but upon closer observation, one would realize the design depicted the female anatomy the monologues are named after.
Beth Younger, professor at Drake University said, “I believe that The Vagina Monologues are important, even crucial, to getting the word out about domestic violence because the voices of women in the production are very real.”
As in years past, the Drake production sold out. To the delight of those involved, 80 percent of the proceeds were donated to Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa (also known simply as Monsoon). The remaining 20 percent will go to the V-Day campaign to help Hurricane Katrina survivors. Approximately, $3,000 was raised.
Monsoon’s mission is to inspire and support sustainable community action for ending violence against women in the Asian communities of Iowa.
Monsoon, led by executive director Mira binti Yusef, has made great strides across the state in partnering with local and state domestic violence, sexual assault and related organizations as their services relate to Asian Pacific Islander (API) citizens.
“Monsoon is very grateful that we are receiving this year’s proceeds. The donation will assist the organization in its mission to end violence against women in the Asian communities in Iowa. In addition, being the recipient for this year’s production helped in exposing Monsoon to the public and, hopefully to the women and their families from the Asian communities that a resource exists specific in the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. And we hope to participate in the 2009 VM Drake University production to bring more women of color faces and voices,” stated Yusef.
Giving women a voice is very important in the fight against domestic violence. Younger said, “These (referring to The Vagina Monologues) voices are impossible to ignore, or at least hard to ignore, and they make the issue a personal one and not just a statistical or social one. If one listens to the voices of the women one cannot help but be moved, angered, saddened and perhaps infuriated. Violence against women has become so expected and even tolerated in our culture that we need something to make us hear these voices. I think the Vagina Monologues do an amazing job of asking us to listen--it is up to us to do the rest.”
This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the V-Day campaign. According to www.VDay.org, “V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.” The monies raised by this global campaign aids in educating people about violence against women and the efforts to end it.
Photo cutline: L to R: Monsoon Board President Boursy Quang
and Executive Director Mira binti Yusef and Board Member Alma Reed.