Friday, April 9, 2010

Helping Girls Survive

Today, I am reposting something from last March for several reasons.
  1. It says what I want to say, so rewriting it to say it again seems dumb.
  2. I don't get political very often (like never) but once a year, I speak up about this because it's really important and someone has to.
  3. It's been a year since I wrote this and I still continue to hear more [complaints] about the violence against a dog in The Dust of 100 Dogs than the violence against humans. Recently, I was speaking to an audience about this. I asked them, "Can you imagine if our society accepted widespread violence against animals the way we accept widespread violence against humans?"
  4. It's V-DAY time again. And this year, teens are playing an even bigger part thanks to V-Girls and Eve Ensler's new book, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.

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From March 2009, slightly altered for 2010: 
Random Brain Meanderings

I wrote a book (The Dust of 100 Dogs) that includes genocide, violence against women & children, sexual slavery, neglect and a guy who beats his dog. So far, many readers seem to care a lot about the dog. I think this says a lot. First off, I want you to know that if you are someone who's mentioned your concern for Rusty, or about the small part in the book about dog fighting, then I think YOU ROCK. I care about these things, too. I'm a dog lover, and a non-violent person, so of COURSE I care about dogs. And I know people are capable of caring about both violence against women & children and violence against dogs at the same time, so I'm not saying this to be judgmental. I'm saying it because I find it really interesting, in a scientific way, (spot the Vulcan) that readers get vocal about the dog violence more often. (Read to the end. I do it too.)

I have an old friend who explored this topic with me while she was reading D100D. She explained that she felt for Rusty, and brought it up specifically, because dogs can't fight back--they are helpless without humans, whereas Emer could fight back. This helped me understand the heightened concern for a dog while human beings all around him in the book were suffering.

Here's Why I'm Bringing This Up.

I'm a big proponent of talking about violence against women and girls, especially sexual violence. I believe we're hiding a culture--an EPIDEMIC of violence against women. (Think of it this way--1 in 4 women in the US has been sexually assaulted. If 1 out of 4 people had the measles or bird flu, we'd call that a measles or bird flu EPIDEMIC, right? And if that happened, we'd NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT--on TV, radio, and at school. People would freak out because the next victim could be someone they know and love.) I'm presently involved in my local production of The Vagina Monologues. I know it's a funny name, and it's a very funny play, too, with really serious parts. The Vagina Monologues is a play that benefits women and girls globally, who are dealing with nightmares you don't even want to think about, through an awesome organization called VDay, started by author Eve Ensler.

VDay is an organized response to violence against women. It's global, yes, but it also benefits the 200,000+ women and girls PER YEAR here in the US who are sexually assaulted, by raising awareness and money to help girls survive. So, even with the funny name (and some VERY HILARIOUS parts) it's for a serious cause. This year, the production is highlighting the horrors of what's happening to women & girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The war in Congo is the deadliest war since World War II. (Don't hear about that on the news much, eh?) Close to SIX MILLION people have been killed, and half a million Congolese women and girls have been systematically raped and tortured. If you want to start thinking about these things, here is the site for VDay and a link to information on the situation in the Congo (DRC). I know this stuff is hard to think about, but if we don't start to actively denounce and deconstruct this SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE EPIDEMIC, our daughters will continue to become statistics that nobody thinks or talks about.

Ironically, I collected for the Humane Society at every local signing I did, but I didn't collect for any crisis centers or child abuse organizations. People do NOT want to think about things like this when attending a signing to buy a book, you know? (Some people avoided my table completely because there was already one donation jar on it.) So, since I put my money where my mouth is in regard to doggies, I feel I need to do something for my biggest concern. On the weekend of April 10th and 11th 2010, I'll be selling and signing copies of The Dust of 100 Dogs in the lobby before our production of The Vagina Monologues. 100% of profits from those book sales will go to VDay. In 2009, I raised $300 through these book sales. It's not huge, but it's something, and every little bit helps. If you live in the Berks County, PA area, you can find tickets HERE. Shows are Saturday, April 10th at 8pm and Sunday, April 11th at 2pm at Genesius Theater at 10th and Walnut Streets, Reading. (Break a leg to the entire cast and crew! You guys have balls the size of Jupiter!)

Stop the Violence & Stop the Silence! 
V-Day is EVERYWHERE. Find your local production of The Vagina Monologues and support a great cause!

Have a laugh. 

Share the Joy. 

Help a girl survive. 

Support your local V-DAY.

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