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Eve Ensler establishes V-Day, demanding that violence against women and girls must end

February 14, 1998

Every year, in February, March, and April, Eve Ensler allows groups around the world to produce a performance of her play The Vagina Monologues and use the proceeds for local projects and programs that work to end violence against and exploitation of women and girls, often shelters and rape crisis centers. What began as one event in New York City in 1998 today includes over 5,800 V-Day events annually in 200 countries.

Born May 25, 1953 and raised in Scarsdale, New York, Ensler was abused by her alcoholic father, eventually becoming addicted herself to alcohol and drugs in college. After becoming sober at 23, she began writing plays.  Her greatest success came from a 1994 off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues, the result of over 200 interviews with women. The play shattered taboos, celebrated women’s strength and sexuality, and addressed the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. The overwhelming response to her play included an Obie Award for best play, a five-year run in New York, and a national tour. More important to her, the responses she heard from women after seeing the play led her to the idea of V-Day.

V-Day events have raised more than $100 million in the organization’s first fourteen years.  Ensler is also the author of the plays Insecure at Last, Here, and Emotional Creature and the books In the Body of the World; A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer; and I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

Ensler has written, "I am proposing that we reconceive the dream. That we consider what would happen if security were not the point of our existence. That we find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, and protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals and expands us."

V-Day events can be found at http://vspot.vday.org/vday/events.

Sources: “Eve Ensler,” Eveensler.org; “Why V-Day Started,” Vspot.Vday.org; “Eve Ensler,” Americans Who Tell the Truth; “Eve Ensler,” Jewish Currents.    

Eve Ensler - 2010
Full image
Eve Ensler in 2010. Photo by Paula Allen.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Eve Ensler establishes V-Day, demanding that violence against women and girls must end." (Viewed on July 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/feb/14/1998/this-week-in-history-eve-ensler-establishes-v-day-demanding-that-violence>.

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