“Until the Violence Stops” Prompts Reflection and Dialogue

Come, days without violence!

Come, days without violence!

A group of LPTS students and staff met Tuesday in the basement of Schlegel Hall to watch the documentary film “Until the Violence Stops,” as part of the observance of V is for Venite.

The film dramatizes the experiences of five diverse communities around the work of V-Day — an international movement to end violence against women and girls — and in the process gives some of the background on the connections between Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and the V-Day movement. As the film notes, the dramatic form of live theatre helps concretize, make more vivid, and bring home the multi-dimensional meaning of violence against women, and the need to end it, in ways that talk or literature simply doesn’t.

The same could be said about the film. In its images of participants in performances around the world, in the testimonies and faces of individual survivors, the audience sees the face of violence against women — what it means in the lives of these women reminding, standing for, the much larger (almost overwhelmingly) reality.

It’s difficult to talk after seeing this film, especially for the first time. The enormity and variety of what needs to be faced, faced down, and brought to an end can leave a person speechless. The depth of pain and suffering, barely touched, can leave a person feeling completely overwhelmed. LPTS Dean of Students Kilen Gray noted one response to the film as a wish to share the understanding the film provides with a congregation in as dramatic, vivid and powerful way as possible. As others noted, bringing the reality, emotions, needs, and calls around violence against women into the life of worship is both particularly necessary, and particularly difficult. It meets the resistance of worship committees, maybe because people feel themselves incapable of doing or saying “the right thing.”

And yet, it’s clear that silence is not “the right thing.” As Gray also noted, it’s the atmosphere of taboo that surrounds every form of violence against women that permits it to go on, to thrive. Breaking that silence, naming violence as wrong, already constitutes support for women who have endured violence and a needed call to confession, repentance and (one hopes) healing for perpetrators. Breaking the silence also begins the needed change in the systems — which tragically include the church and its institutions — that enable and perpetuate violence.

At least one thing is clear: the church needs to be present and active not only in calling for an end to violence against women and girls, but in working for that end.

Why the V-Word??

In talking yesterday with a potential audience member for the upcoming Women’s Center-sponsored performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, this objection came up: “It’s fine to be against violence against women, and to raise consciousness, and money, and all that. But why do we have to be so in your face with the word . . . ?” [VAGINA, that is.]

Good question, and there’s a good answer, too.

If we can’t name a part of our body, we also can’t talk about what happens to it. If it’s injured, violated, destroyed, we can’t tell the story of that. Maybe — since we can’t name it, aren’t supposed to mention it — it wasn’t really that important in the first place. Not worth mentioning. Since we can’t talk about it, maybe what happens to it isn’t even anything. Maybe there can’t even be “violence” against something that was nothing worth mentioning in the first place, barely even there . . .

So it’s important to say the word VAGINA, to name it, to insist that the VAGINA is worth mentioning, is valued and valuable rather than nothing much, is protected space in the same way that the face or the hand or the heart is protected space, that it’s better for it to be happy than hurt, and that its stories need to be told.

Because if we can’t say VAGINA, we can’t tell the vagina’s stories, and if we can’t tell the vagina’s stories then we will only have silence with which to call for an end to violence against women and girls. When we need SPEECH.

Read more about “V is for Venite — Come Days without violence!

V is for Venite

vweek-flier

V is for Venite (Come — Days without violence!) is a week of activities focusing the community’s attention on the problem of violence against women and girls, and the need to mobilize theological and ecclesial resources to end it. The week culminates with a registered performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, Friday, February 13, 8:00 p.m., Hundley Hall, Gardencourt, on the Louisville Seminary campus.

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V-Day is an international movement to eliminate violence against women and girls

V-Day is an international movement to eliminate violence against women and girls

Tickets for the Women’s Center’s performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues are on sale now!

This performance will cap a week of dedicated worship and other activities that will focus attention on the problem of violence against women and girls, its religious and theological significance, and the role of the church in ending it. The theme for the week, “V is for Venite,” reminds us that “Days without violence are coming!” and issues a call to us, as the church, to participate.

We hope to see many at

Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues
Friday, February 13
8:00 p.m.
Hundley Hall, Gardencourt, on the LPTS campus
Regular Admission $10.00, Students $7.50

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All proceeds from the performance will benefit the Center for Women and Families, and the V-Day 2009 Spotlight Campaign, “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power to the Women and Girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Images from V-Day.org

Images from V-Day.org

V-Day Cast Assembly TODAY

V-Day is an international movement to eliminate violence against women and girls

V-Day is an international movement to eliminate violence against women and girls

V-Day is taking shape in reality!

Today, the cast of the Women’s Center’s production of Eve Ensler’s award-winning play The Vagina Monologues will assemble in the Women’s Center and begin work towards the production that will take place Friday, February 13, 2009 (the culmination of V-Week, February 10-14).

[That’s today, 10:00 a.m., in the Women’s Center, for folks checking the details; lunch is on the Women’s Center.]

The enthusiasm for a seminary production of the play keeps taking us by surprise — though it shouldn’t!

Of course, seminarians care about violence against women and girls! It’s wrong, and everything about the call to proclaim good news ought to impel us to be proclaiming the need to end this violence, and to be working in this world to bring it to an end in anticipation of its final end in the world to come.

Of course, that includes using the medium of the arts! Religion and the arts are twin enterprises of the human spirit, drawing on the senses to create spaces in our imaginations where liberating possibilities can take root and flourish. How can we hear that good news, if our ears are stopped up by the bad news of the “that’s just how things are/always have been/always will be” alleged realism of the present?

So we’re looking forward to seeing what a group of creative women seminarians will make of this artistic project to work towards a day without violence against women and girls!

V is for Venite -- days without violence!

V is for Venite -- days without violence!

Fall Arts & Crafts Sale Coming Soon

The Friday after Thanksgiving has gained the moniker “Black Friday,” at least in the United States, because retailers look forward to brisk sales in the weeks before Christmas putting their accounts “in the black.”

The Women’s Center has its retail sights set a bit later: on Friday, December 5, which is the date for the annual

Fall Arts & Crafts Sale

9:00 a.m.

Winn Center Lounge

We are still actively seeking donations of hand-crafted items for the sale. Crafters still have plenty of time (over the long weekend, perhaps!) to complete projects and bring them to the Women’s Center, 100 White Hall, T-F 12:30-2 or by appointment. We are encouraging folks with items to donate to bring them to the Center by Thursday, December 4 at the latest, to give us time to price items before the sale.

This year, folks who browse the art and artisanal works by members of the Seminary community and others at the sale will also have an opportunity to see the film:

Until the Violence Stops
3:00-4:40 p.m.
McAtee A

Until the Violence Stops explains the reasons behind the V-Day movement that has impelled colleges and communities across the nation and the globe to stage their own productions of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues as part of the effort to end violence against women and girls. LPTS will join the cause with its own production in February, 2009.

The sale will conclude with an

Informal Reception
7:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.
Winn Center Lounge

featuring light refreshments and libations, as an encouragement to last-minute shoppers.

All proceeds from the Fall Arts & Crafts Sale go to support the Women’s Center and its programs

We hope to see you there!