I don’t think about my vagina a lot.
That might sound kind of funny coming from someone whose weekly inspiration is sex.
But I don’t.
It’s down there.
I know it’s there.
It’s always been there.
We have a nice little symbiotic relationship going.
But I don’t think about my vagina a lot.
I probably don’t think about it a lot because I don’t feel like it’s in direct threat most of the time, so I don’t have to worry about it.
I don’t fear for its safety on a regular basis. I didn’t really realize how much I should.
Last Thursday night, I spent two straight hours completely focused on it.
Well, not my vagina exactly, but the vagina in general.
I went to see Temple’s production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” put on by Sexual Assault Counseling and Education Program (SACE).
A little background might be helpful.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a compilation of interviews held with hundreds of women who were asked questions about their sexual experiences, sexual histories and their opinions of their womanhood.
The result is a piece that covers everything from appreciation and admiration of the vagina to the unfathomable injustices suffered by it.
The portrayal of these women inspires belly laughter, tears, self-reflection, introspection and pride.
That’s what I got out of it anyway.
In addition, I learned a lot.
I learned horrific statistics about violence towards women.
I was inspired by the performance both to have more respect for myself and to join in spreading the word about the horrific things that happen to women all over the world.
This isn’t me waving my feminist flag.
It’s me voicing concern about something I hadn’t realized was such a massive, disgusting issue.
I figured that if I didn’t know how expansive the problem is, other people probably don’t know either.
Equally as many of them were probably unable to come out and actually see the incredible production.
For those people, I’d like to take this opportunity and devote rest of my column space to getting the word out a little further.
The following statistics are from a pamphlet handed out at “The Vagina Monologues.”
I came out of it feeling informed and motivated to make a difference, which was one of the main goals of the show.
I hope this has an equally powerful impact on you.
– Every 21 hours on each college campus in the U. S. there is a rape (Campus Outreach Services). As I am typing, as you are reading, someone is probably being violated.
– Somewhere in America, a women is raped every 90 seconds. (U. S. Department of Justice, 2000). That’s 75 women per Chemistry lecture.
– One in Six women in the United States has experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
– One in two rape victims is under 18. One in six is under 12.
– Domestic violence occurs in approximately one third of same-sex relationships (NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, October, 1996).
-Approximately 50 percent of the homeless women and children in the United States are on the streets because of violence in their homes (A Report on the 1988 National Surveys of Shelters for the Homeless, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1989).
– More than 130 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female genital cutting, and a further 2 million girls are at risk. (World Health Organization, 1997).
– At least 60 million girls who would otherwise be expected to be alive are “missing” from various populations, mostly Asia, as a result of sex-selective abortions, infanticide or neglect (U. S. Study on the Status of Women).
-Abused adult women have been found to have higher rates of unemployment and poverty. And sexual abuse is also associated with unwanted pregnancies, multiple sex partners and psychiatric problems (Study conducted with British women by researchers at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, U. K.).
– The list of statistics is almost two pages long. For more information, contact SACE in the lower level of Sullivan Hall.
Nadia Stadnycki can be reached at email@example.com.