Wednesday, February 15, 2006

JUSTICE Statement on “The Vagina Monologues”

The following is the proposal submitted to the Marquette administration by JUSTICE, asking permission to perform “The Vagina Monologues” on campus.

The request was rejected by the Administration.

We’ll have more comment on this issue, but for the moment, here is the complete unedited statement from the student activist group.

January 26, 2006

Dear Dr. McCarthy,

J.U.S.T.I.C.E. (Jesuit University Students Together in Concerned Empowerment), is a caring, compassionate community of social justice activists at Marquette University. We seek to educate and influence our campus, government, and other leaders to take action to create a better, freer, more peaceful world. In this capacity, we value open, honest dialogue and feel it is our responsibility to address issues of violence, oppression, and injustice that affect Marquette students. We believe The Vagina Monologues brings these issues to light through an art form that is both educational and accessible.

The Vagina Monologues is part of the international V-Day Campaign to end violence against women. The play itself is the main educational component of this campaign. It speaks with the voices of real women about their own stories and experiences. Several of the monologues address sexual violence, others address sexism and oppression of women, and some give voice to international women’s rights issues.

Unlike many other sexual violence awareness events, The Vagina Monologues attacks at the root of the problem; silence and powerlessness. It opens up dialogue because of its stark honesty. The dialogue promotes a community open to speaking about important yet uncomfortable issues. Powerlessness dissolves as we hear others’ stories and find a place to tell our own.

The play is an educational piece in and of itself, but in an effort to ensure that the important issues raised are understood in their intention and presentation, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. will coordinate supplemental education. A formal talkback after the show, on-site counselors for individual meetings, and additional literature and resources will be available. Network partners of HAVEN (Helping Abuse and Violence End Now) have agreed to help us in this endeavor. In an attempt to address the issue of violence against women from a holistic perspective, we also plan to collaborate with Marquette professors of diverse disciplines on educational information and additional University Ministry staff regarding healing and spiritual guidance.

We feel that this important production is not only in line with our mission as a student organization but is also reflective of our greater mission as a Catholic, Jesuit University. As the Church teaches a preferential option for the poor, the situation we find women in becomes a call to action for Catholics everywhere – within both our domestic and international communities – to address the systemic nature of women’s inequality in our modern world. At Marquette we are taught fundamental Jesuit values, including care for the whole person and faith seeking justice. The Vagina Monologues offers women a unique space in which to celebrate and care for their whole person including their sexuality, an opportunity women in today’s world rarely enjoy. As Jesuit University students, we are also called to live out a faith that does justice ─ a faith that counters violence and oppression against women. The play promotes an understanding of the victims of this violence by telling the stories from their point of view. As the silence is broken around these issues, women are given a powerful tool to work against sexual oppression, which includes sexual violence.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. Additionally, we invite you to explore the V-Day Campaign website (http://www.vday.org/). Thank you for your consideration and time.

Peace,

Dominique George, President of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. on behalf of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. members

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