European & International News

Vagina Monologues in the EP: a cross-party call for EU action to end violence against women

[Brussels, 06 March 2012] Ahead of the International Women’s Day on Tuesday 06 March, nine members of the European Parliament became “artivists”, performing the well-known theater play “Vagina Monologues” in the European Parliament, using their talent in interpreting the sharp, tender, joyful text of Eve Ensler as another way to pass their political message.

In front of a crowded space in the EP, mixing MEPs, activists and general public, the nine performers brilliantly succeeded to move the audience with emotion, laugh, sensitivity, breaking the taboo on women’s bodies and sexuality, too often linked with male violence against women. They gave voices to women all over the world in the fight against rape and all forms of violence against women.

“Profiting from the winds of courage blowing from the Arab revolutions, we have a unique opportunity to give voice to women in the fight against rape, incest, genital mutilation, trafficking and sexual slavery”, said Ana Gomes. But also in Europe, women’s rights are violated every day, said Sirpa Pietikanen. She reminded that gender-based violence is still one of the main causes of death and in several European countries, as well as outside Europe, the right of each woman to make the deeply personal decision about whether to undergo an abortion is also severely limited. This we will change and the time for change is now”, she announced, relaying the new V Day campaign for the rise of one billion women (14 February 2013).

The MEPs learly call on EU decision makers for concrete actions, and notably to:

  • honour their existing commitments (including to devise a European Strategy for preventing and combating violence against women, and to apply the existing policies and guidelines on combating violence against women in external action);
  • ensure that future policies and programmes such as the 2014-2020 Rights and Citizenship Programme include ending violence against women and girls as a specific objective and ensure appropriate funding for implementation;
  • sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (EU and all Member States);
  • Ensure that the EU “victims package” includes specific provisions regarding violence against women;
  • Consider the European Women’s Lobby’s call for a European Year to End Violence against women.

Eve Ensler closed the performance by reiterating her call for anyone to stand up against violence against women, including men: “You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us? “ .

More information: Karin Heisecke | karin@vday.org | +32 (0)486 314 094

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