Eve Ensler – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is inspired to Celebrate the Life of one of our world’s most active women on this planet. Rising above her own challenges in youth, and through all the actions of her life, she has grown into a true power of example for all women to  unite globally and become strong so to Take Action, Rise Up and Stop Violence Against Women. She has devoted her life to stopping violence, envisioning a planet in which women and girls will be free to thrive, rather than merely survive.

 

Founder of V-DAY, ONE BILLION RISING!

 

 

 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 

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Eve Ensler

 
 
 

Child-Sexual-Abuse-only-gets-worse-as-its-unnoticed-77752293842_xlargeEnsler was born in New York, the daughter of a housewife and an executive. Her father was Jewish and her mother was from a Christian background.

She reports having been physically and sexually abused by her father when she was a child.

She graduated from Middlebury College in 1975.

She married Richard McDermott in 1978, and divorced him 10 years later.

She is the adoptive mother of actor Dylan McDermott, whom she adopted when he was 15 and she was 23.

EVE Film_TheVaginaMonologuesEVE ENSLER, Tony Award winning Playwright, performer, and activist, is the author of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, translated into over 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries, including sold-out runs at both Off-Broadway’s Westside Theater and on London’s West End (2002 Olivier Award nomination, Best Entertainment) and has been running for 11 years in Mexico City and Paris.

The Vagina Monologues was written in 1996. First performed in the basement of the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village, The Vagina Monologues has been translated into 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

Celebrities who have starred in the play include: Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Idina Menzel, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Marin Mazzie, Cyndi Lauper, Mary Testa and Oprah Winfrey.

Ensler was awarded the Obie Award in 1996 for ‘Best New Play’ and in 1999 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Playwriting. She has also received the Berrilla-Kerr Award for Playwriting, the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, and the Jury Award for Theater at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Ms. Ensler’s experience performing THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES inspired her to create V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls.

Ensler has been involved in several films, including V-Day’s Until The Violence Stops and the PBS documentary What I Want My Words To Do To You, and has appeared on television on Real Time with Bill Maher (August 26, 2005) and Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry (August 12, 2005).

From October 2005 to April 2006, Ensler toured twenty North American cities with her play The Good Body, following engagements on Broadway, at ACT in San Francisco, and in a workshop production at Seattle Repertory Theatre. The Good Body addresses why women of many cultures and backgrounds perceive pressure to change the way they look in order to be accepted in the eyes of society.

The Good Body

eve Book_TheGoodBodyThe Good Body starts with Eve’s tortured relationship with her own “post-forties” stomach and her skirmishes with everything from Ab Rollers to fad diets and fascistic trainers in an attempt get the “flabby badness” out. As Eve hungrily seeks self-acceptance, she is joined by the voices of women from L.A. to Kabul, whose obsessions are also laid bare: A young Latina candidly critiques her humiliating “spread,” a stubborn layer of fat that she calls “a second pair of thighs.”

The wife of a plastic surgeon recounts being systematically reconstructed–inch by inch–by her “perfectionist” husband. An aging magazine executive, still haunted by her mother’s long-ago criticism, describes her desperate pursuit of youth as she relentlessly does sit-ups.

Along the way, Eve also introduces us to women who have found a hard-won peace with their bodies: an African mother who celebrates each individual body as signs of nature’s diversity; an Indian woman who transcends “treadmill mania” and delights in her plump cheeks and curves; and a veiled Afghani woman who is willing to risk imprisonment for a taste of ice cream.

These are just a few of the inspiring stories woven through ‘Eve’s global journey from obsession to enlightenment‘. Ultimately, these monologues become a personal wake-up call from Eve to love the “good bodies” we inhabit.

Ensler’s play, The Treatment debuted on September 12, 2006, at the Culture Project in New York City. This play explores the moral and psychological trauma that are the result of participation in military conflicts. It stars her adoptive son, Dylan McDermott.

Book_InsecureAtLastIn 2006, Eve released her first major work written exclusively for the printed page. Insecure At Last: Losing It In Our Security-Obsessed World (Villard; Hardcover; October 3, 2006).

In Insecure At Last, Ensler explores how people live today, the measures people take to keep themselves safe, and how people can experience freedom by letting go of the deceptive notion of “protection.

Ensler draws on personal experiences and candid interviews with burka-clad women in Afghanistan; female prisoners in upstate New York; survivors at the Superdome after Katrina; and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan–sharing unforgettable snapshots that chronicle a post-9/11 existence in which hyped obsession for safety and security has undermined our humanity. The us-versus-them mentality, Ensler explains, has closed our minds and hardened our compassionate hearts.

Provocative, illuminating, inspiring, and boldly envisioned, Insecure at Last challenges us to reconsider what it means to be free, to discover that our strength is not born out of that which protects us. Ensler offers us the opportunity to reevaluate our everyday lives, expose our vulnerability, and, in doing so, experience true freedom and fulfillment.

REVIEWS

“A captivating read…This is an important work by a major American writer.”
– Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Ensler now proves to be as galvanizing an oral historian and essayist as she is a dramatist in this forthright inquiry into our obsession with security both personal and national.
– Booklist (Starred Review)

In 2006 Eve also co-edited A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer, an anthology of writings about violence against women.

eve-ensler2-313Eve’s work I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around The World, a collection of original monologues about and for girls that aims inspire girls to take agency over their minds, bodies, hearts and curiosities, was released February 2010 in book form by Random House and made The New York Times Best Seller list.

The book was work shopped in July 2010 at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, moving towards an Off-Broadway production.

The theatrical production of the piece, titled Emotional Creature, debuted its United States debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, CA in June 2012. In February 2012, The South African production of Emotional Creature was nominated for a 2011 Naledi Theatre Award for Best Ensemble Production/Cutting Edge Production.
 

 

In February 2004, Ensler, alongside Sally Field, Jane Fonda and Christine Lahti, protested to have the Mexican government re-investigate the slayings of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, a city along the Texas border.

Ensler is a very close supporter of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and went to Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban. She supports Afghan women and has organized many programs for them. She organized one event named the “Afghani Women’s Summit For Democracy”.

EveEdEnsler has led a writing group since 1998 at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, which was portrayed in What I Want My Words To Do To You.

Judy Clark, Kathy Boudin, and Pamela Smart were among the writing group’s participants featured in the film.

Photo by Paula Allen

HOME VIDEO – ‘What I Want Me Words To Do To You’
 
EVE’S ACTIVISM in a Nutshell:

vday23Ensler is a prominent activist addressing issues of violence against women and girls. In 1998, her experience performing The Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls.

V-Day raises funds and awareness through annual benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues.

In 2010, more than 5,400 V-Day events took place in over 1,500 locations in the U.S. and around the world.

To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. These safe houses provide women sanctuary from abuse, female genital mutilation and honor killing.

The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

  • V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.
  • V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.
  • V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.
  • V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.
  • V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.
  • V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.
  • V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.
  • V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!

Today, V-Day is a global activist movement that supports anti-violence organizations throughout the world, helping them to continue and expand their core work on the ground, while drawing public attention to the larger fight to stop worldwide violence (including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), sex slavery) against women and girls. V-Day exists for no other reason than to stop violence against women.

In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine‘s “100 Best Charities,” in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine‘s Top Ten Charities, and in 2010 was named as one of the Top-Rated organizations on Great Nonprofits. In twelve years, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million.

obr-mailheaderV-Day stages large-scale benefits and produces innovative gatherings, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes towards violence against women including the documentary Until The Violence Stops; community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juarez, Mexico; the December 2003 V-Day delegation trip to Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan; the Afghan Women’s Summit; the March 2004 delegation to India; the Stop Rape Contest; the Indian Country Project; Love Your Tree; the June 2006 two-week festival of theater, spoken word, performance and community events UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC ; the 2008, V-Day 10-year anniversary events V TO THE TENTH at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome; the Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power To The Women and Girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign; the V-Girls Campaign, and the V-Men Campaign which launched in 2010.

EVEone2In late 2010, V-Day and UNICEF, in partnership with Panzi Foundation will open the City Of Joy a special facility for the survivors of sexual violence in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Conceived, created and developed by the women on the ground, the City of Joy will support women survivors of sexual violence to heal and provide them with opportunities to develop their leadership through innovative programming.

Through its groundbreaking model, the City of Joy will provide up to 180 women a year with an opportunity to benefit from: group therapy; storytelling; dance; theater; self-defense; comprehensive sexuality education (covering Top Ten Charities).
 

 
In 2011, V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (DRC), with support from UNICEF, opened the City of Joy, a new community for women survivors of gender violence in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

City of Joy will provide up to 180 Congolese women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; self-defense training; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); economic empowerment; storytelling; dance; theater; ecology and horticulture. Created from their vision, Congolese women run, operate and direct City of Joy themselves.

The City of Joy celebrated its first graduating class in February 2012.

In 2012, along with the V-Day movement, Ensler founded One Billion Rising, a global protest campaign to end violence, and promote justice and gender equality for women.

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When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women. Since then, hundreds of thousands of V-Day activists in audiences and on stages in over 140 countries have come together to demand an end to violence against women and girls. The funds we’ve raised together have kept organizations’ doors open, and the issue front and center in local media.

women 1 in 3

But still today, the United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime that’s more than one billion women and girls alive today.

V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, showing them exactly what one billion looks like.

ONE BILLION RISING is a promise that on February 14th, 2013, we will ensure that millions of women and men rise up around the world to say, “ENOUGH. The violence ends NOW.”

There is so much more to come. But for right now, you can help us launch ONE BILLION RISING with a few simple actions:

  • Share ONE BILLION RISING with your networks
  • Sign up for our text message updates in the US by texting BILLION to 50555
  • Follow V-Day on Facebook and Twitter

ONE BILLION RISING will make the earth move by uniting us through dance across every country.

I look forward to dancing, striking and rising to end violence against women and girls together with you!

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In solidarity,

Eve Ensler
Playwright, Founder of V-Day
One Billion Rising

Ensler’s memoir In the Body of the World will be released in 2013.
 
 
Afterword:

The Men Who Killed Me

EVE themenwhokilledmeAnne-Marie de Brouwer (Editor), Sandra Ka Hon Chu (Editor), Samer Muscati (Photographer), Eve Ensler (Afterword), Stephen Lewis (Foreword)

In the 100 days of genocide that ravaged Rwanda in 1994, one million people were killed and as many as 500,000 women and girls were raped. No one was spared. Grandmothers were raped in front of their grandchildren; young girls witnessed their families being massacred before being taken as sex slaves.

Nearly all the women who survived were victims of sexual violence or were profoundly affected by it. An astounding 70 percent are HIV-positive. In Rwanda’s social and cultural climate, survivors who speak out face discrimination and isolation.

The Men Who Killed Me features testimonials from 17 Rwandan survivors.

Through their narratives and Samer Muscati’s powerful portraits of them, these 16 women and one man bear witness not only to the crimes they and their countrymen endured, but to the incredible courage that has allowed them to survive and flourish.

 

Photo Credit: Brigitte Lacombe

 
 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this woman into our Alumni with open arms and is honored to support the work of this powerhouse.

 

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Brava Eve!

 

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