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BREAKING THE SILENCE ON FAMILY VIOLENCE
A local group plans to use theatre to raise awareness of violence against women and girls.
Paula Rodriguez de la Vega and Tiffany Beckedorf have formed a small group of local volunteers, linking into the V-Day events, part of a global movement aimed at stopping violence against women and girls.
They’ve formed a local chapter called V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos.
One of the problems with violence against women is that it’s often associated with family violence.
All too often, family violence is tolerated or ignored because what goes on in a family is considered private. The problem festers in silence.
But, especially when relationships of power are unequal, family violence can be extremely damaging to victims both physically and mentally.
And, it can easily cross the line into criminal behaviour.
By using theatre – in this case the Eve Ensler award-winning play the Vagina Monologues – actors and participants empower women and help to break down the taboo of silence about both violence against women and female sexuality.
“Through this play … countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives,” said Beckedorf, who will be a co-director of the play. “For more than 12 years, this play has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public.”
Organizers point out that domestic violence is a serious problem not only around the world and across Canada, but right here in the South Okanagan.
Worldwide, they say, statistics show that one in three women will be victims of violence at sometime in their lives.
Domestic violence isn’t always physical, with victims suffering also from verbal, sexual and psychological abuse. And suffering is often in silence.
The play not only raises awareness, but organizers hope to raise funds for organizations such as Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre, which has programs to help women and girls.
Ensler’s play has raised tens of millions of dollars for groups and organizations assisting victims of domestic violence and their children.
The group is currently inviting local women “from ages 16 to 101” to audition for parts in the performance.
Of course it takes more than just one play to solve the problem of violence against women.
But this is a worthy effort that will raise awareness among performers and the audience and will hopefully generate some discussion in the community.
And hopefully it will also help to break down the silence for far too many victims.