Lights! Camera! Take action!: Vagina Monologues tackles big issues

By Natalie Sutton, Staff Writer

“The Vagina Monologues” evoked laughter, tears, and raised issues relevant to the Guilford community.

Performed on Wed. April 24, the monologues touched on subjects like rape, child molestation, the Taliban’s brutal treatment of women, and domestic violence.

“Because of the range of experiences depicted through the monologues, it fosters
thinking about experiences relatable to one’s own life and brings attention to other types of
abuse that one may not have thought about,” said senior Adelaide Ayres, who enjoyed having
the opportunity to perform one of the monologues.

Cast members worked with directors to choose pieces that felt suitable to them, and some found personal connections enabling them to relate to the pieces they performed, bringing an even higher level of intensity and realness to the whole production.

“’The Vagina Monologues’ are important because violence against women is still prevalent in our world and we can’t stop thinking about it,” said sophomore and President of Sexual Assault Awareness Support and Advocacy, Chelsea Yarborough. “It reminds us, ‘hey this is still a problem. Your mom/sister/girlfriend can experience this and our work isn’t done yet.’ I think it’s cathartic and beneficial for people to see, and is stirring for people, which is good.”

After the show, there was time for questions or comments. Emotions ran high.

A few individuals shared their own experiences with sexual violence and feeling unable to speak out. People shared how much it meant to them to hear these often-controversial issues being addressed in a public space.

One audience member tearfully thanked the cast for shedding light on adolescent girls not speaking out to their mothers about their molestation, because the individual in the crowd, too, had been in a similar situation.

The director, junior Jodie Geddes, has been involved with The Vagina Monologues since her first year, and was really touched by how the audience opened up about these experiences.

“I tore up,” said Geddes. “It was definitely beautiful because, in the past, I’ve seen people talk about their connections to the pieces, but they’ve never told their own stories, and I think today it created a safer space, but also made people recognize that we need to think about these issues on a daily basis.

You don’t just come to the show and say everyone performed well, because it’s not just a performance. These are stories that people have lived through that we’re telling, and I think that brought a lot of people closer together and I appreciate the support from a lot of people that came out.”

Junior Billy Millman left the show understanding the bigger cultural implications on which the performances shed light.

“It’s important to raise awareness and educate so that we can reduce rape and violence against women,” said Millman. “By addressing rape culture we can get rid of the mindset that makes rape acceptable, which we see in the ‘blame the victim’ mindset.”

While the show itself was well done and the hard work certainly paid off, hopefully people walked out with more than just an appreciation of the performances.

Hopefully, audience members left with a better understanding of the vicious cycle of rape culture that is perpetuated in our society, and societies across the globe, on a daily basis.

Although April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, every month should deal with this critical issue. While the media and general public often acknowledge sexual assault as a major problem, it seems that other forms of violence receive more attention.

“By performing these emotionally packed monologues, about topics often neglected in discussion, to the community, it encourages the discussion of these topics, and stresses the
importance of talking about experiences,” said Ayres. “The discussion about these topics, as hard as it may be, is ultimately empowering and liberating, and facilitates growth.”

A huge cultural change is in order here. Sexual assault does not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual preference, or anything else. It’s real and it could happen to anyone. And this production is a step in the right direction in calling attention to this huge problem to which no one is immune.

Interested in getting involved? Check out SAASA, the Sexual Assault Awareness Support and
Advocacy organization on campus.

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