The author of the internationally known play Vagina Monologue, Eve Ensler, visited the Philippines last December.
This is to call on every female all over the world, including the Philippines, to join the “One Billion Rising” campaign, which is the 15th year celebration of V-Day.
V-Day, according to vday.org, is a “global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.”
It serves as a “push” for all abused women and girls to stand up and fight for their rights.
ENSLER IN MANILA. “I just love the Philippines!” exclaimed Ensler on her recent interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
“I just met the most beautiful, loving, fierce, and wonderful people,” she adds, and pointing particularly to Monique Wilson who is leading the V-Day movement here in the country.
This is when the topic shifted to the fight against the violence that many women go through, not only here in the country but all over the world.
Ensler said, “There is change— the world is changing!
“It is because women put themselves forward… You should be very, very proud of how this movement is in this country.”
Ensler’s V-Day movement started in 1998, which aimed to raise funds to support women’s anti-violence groups, through the staging of the play Vagina Monologue.
Since then, the movement went global, until it reached Asia, and is now beginning to be more known among Filipinas.
Ensler calls for more Filipinas to stand up for their rights, most especially after her visit to the women of Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City.
Here she recalled hearing stories where, “women, young girls sell their bodies so they could be allowed to scavenge garbage.”
“If people need to pay so they could scavenge garbage, I won’t be surprised if one day we’ll need to pay for the air we breathe,” she remarked.
V-MEN. Yet, Ensler made clear that these efforts will be nothing without the help of the male population.
This male population, whom their movement regard as V-Men, can offer a great contribution to the movement, she said.
Two of the local male personalities who are part of the V-men are TV host Boy Abunda, and theater actor Leo Valdez, who recently starred with Monique Wilson in the play The King and I.
Ensler even recalled one interview with Boy Abunda, where the TV host shared his close bond with his mother.
She relates, “He shared with me a story, when he was young, he was taken away from his mother. He couldn’t live with his mother, and he loves her so much.
“He would literally know when his mother is sick, he could detect if his mother is sick because he feels it in his body.
“He will tell her, ‘you are sick,’ and she will tell him, ‘yes I am sick, how did you know?’ and he said, ‘when a man loves a woman deeply, he could never violate her, he will feel what she is feeling, and it will be impossible [to hurt her].”
This, said Ensler, made her realize that, “if you love your mother, take care of your mother, cherish your mother, you will take care of the women in your life.”
ONE BILLION RISING. On their 15th V-Day celebration, they launch their “most ambitious campaign to date”— the “One Billion Rising.”
For this campaign, they aim to “inviting one billion women and those who love them to walk out, dance, rise up, and demand an end to this violence” all over the world.
Why use dance as a medium to “symbolize” the resistance to violence against women?
Ensler explained, when a woman dances, her whole body is “in motion.” Unlike when a woman is abused, her body is “imprisoned” by the abuser who restricts her movements.
When a woman dances, it is as if she’s “resisting” or is “fighting back” the abuse that she’s experiencing.
So all women— young and old— here in the Philippines and around the world are invited to join the “One Billion Rising: Strike| Dance| Rise” movement on February 14, as they dance away violence against women.