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Students share stories of WOMENS’ STRUGGLES

By RAVEN JACKSON | Staff Writer

The sentence, “We were worried about vaginas,” kicked off the 10th anniversary production of Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues.” The play is a part of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against girls and women by raising funds through creative activities, such as benefit productions of the play.

To date, the movement has raised over $80 million and increased awareness about the efforts in place to stop violence against women.

The student show, directed by Samantha Pohlot and Bryanna Licciardi, was performed on Wednesday, March 30.

Licciardi said she has been in the play before, but seeing her ideas come to life was an “empowering moment.” “It really made me feel like one person can make a difference.”

“By the end of the show everyone was kind of a collective voice,” said Pohlot, “it gives you the sense of a group.”

The alumni show, directed by Caitlin Purdom, was presented on Thursday, March 31. “When I got up in front of almost 200 people, I barely had any nerves. I guess this happened because I truly believe in what ‘The Vagina Monologues’ stand for and work towards. I want people to hear these women’s stories. I want people to know about the atrocities that happen to women all over the world every day,” Purdom said.

The play is a large component of the Women’s Studies “Vagina Monologues” course taught by Jill Eichorn, associate professor of Women’s Studies and English.

“This production featured students from ‘The Vagina Monologues ‘class, a class that examines the issues the play raises and part of the work of the course is to produce the show.,“ Eichorn said.

“In the alumni show, graduates of APSU performed who had been in the show before and some graduates performed in the show for the first time,” Eichorn said.

At the two performances, a total of 360 people attended. Proceeds from ticket, T-shirt and button sales were benefited to Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee, Clarksville Montgomery County SafeHouse and a student scholarship to create and promote programs to build healthy and safe interpersonal relationships in the community.

“In the last 10 years, we have raised more than $12,000,” Eichorn said.

“I believe students who perform in the show or direct the show experience the joy of celebrating who they are as women. The process of producing the show teaches women to value their own voices and to have empathy for the experiences of other women.”

During the play, the lobby of the Clement building displayed a variety of colored shirts, with each color corresponding with a different meaning.

“We always display APSU’s Clothesline Project in the Clement lobby, which bears testimony to the personal violations suffered by members of our Austin Peay community,” Eichorn said.

The Clothesline Project, in honor of Sexual Awareness Month, will be on display Wednesday, April 6, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the MUC Plaza.

T-shirts from the play can still be purchased in the Women’s & Gender Studies office for $10. For more information on V-Day visit www.vday.org. TAS

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