Sunday, April 14, 2013

Social Justice Event Reflection


     For my social justice event, I attended the Vagina Monologues. I expected it to be raunchy but not this raunchy. Some parts made me very uncomfortable, especially because I was sitting behind a group of older women and men. The video below is a clip from the Vagina Monologues and demonstrates how filthy some of the stories were. I attended this show back in February of this year but I still remember the stories very clearly.
     One of the stories that really stuck with me spoke about a woman being raped by a group of men. She was a poor woman living in a country that was invaded. The soldiers took advantage of her and gang raped her, extremely destroying her vagina. It may be a stretch since rape is such a huge issue but this relates to "Privilege, Power, and Difference" by Allan G. Johnson. His main point is that those we need to change these rules of power. He says, "All of us are part of the problem. There is no way to avoid that as long as we live in this world" (vii). This is the sad truth because not many people are willing to step up and change these codes of power.
     This woman's story also opened my eyes to how many unrecorded rapes there are every day. It is a sick world we live in and men and women across the globe are attacked or taken advantage of every day. This website  provides statistics for rape in the United States. It reports information such as every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. and 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. From unreported rapes to unknown rapists this statistic makes me sick. The woman who told her story in the Vagina Monologues is so brave for coming forward with her tragedy.  

     Another chapter of the Vagina Monologues talked about a young woman exploring her sexuality. She always thought she was attracted to males until she met one female that changed her ways completely. This reminded me of Safe Spaces by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy. This piece states, "Assumptions that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual shape most classroom interactions, whether academic or social" (84). When the woman spoke about this piece during the Vagina Monologues, her main issue with being gay was how others would react. These two pieces tie together because both subjects were ashamed of their sexuality due to possible repercussions with friends and family.
     Coming out to your friends and family is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially when you do not have support from your loved ones. Unfortunately, many teens and adults enter a depression, hide their true sexual preference, or even commit suicide because they do not know how to deal with this huge life change. Luckily, there are many outlets to help these people such as LGBTQ organizations and counseling sites. It is very important to make teens aware of these organizations so they can get as much assistance as they need when coming out. 

     Finally my experience at the Vagina Monologues reminded me of Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. One episode of the Vagina Monologues tells the story of women who are subjected to rape camps. Kozol says that the issues of racism and poverty are not the individual's fault but a result of the system of power. Similar to these rape camps, Kozol speaks of drug parks. He says, "It is, I later learn, one of the many drug parks in the South Bronx that police sometimes try to shut down but, for the most part, leave in peace for those who have no other place to shoot their drugs or drink their wine" (12). It is disturbing to know either one of these places exist and even more unsettling to know that they are not being shut down. 
     It may be ignorant for thinking this world was a better place but I did not think things like rape camps existed. The thought of them absolutely makes me ill. Women should have control of their own bodies and the fact that people are not doing all they can to shut down these rape camps should sicken society. This link explains what rape camps are and how they were huge during the Bosnian War. 

     I enjoyed the Vagina Monologues production at Rhode Island College very much. It has taught me a lot about how the articles we read in class can not only link to the classroom but also to real life scenarios. I would definitely recommend the Vagina Monologues to someone else. As long as you don't mind the raunchy talk, the other episodes in this production are very powerful. These stories were meant to be heard. I am very glad I chose this for my social justice event.

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