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UCF Victim Services presented its annual production of The Vagina Monologues Saturday night to promote empowerment of women and V-day, the global movement that aims to end violence against women.

"The Vagina Monologues is speaking for a portion of humanity that is a minority," said Elizabeth Fay, senior theatre major and director of the show. "Women have been one of the most oppressed parts of humanity."

The show, written by Eve Ensler, features stories submitted by real women. The topics range from rape to homosexuality, while encouraging women and letting them know they aren't alone.

"I think it's a really great way to showcase different women's stories," said Fawn Bolak, an advocate at Victim Services. "I think it's a really great show to spread awareness not just about violence against women, but about all different types of issues that women have to go through."

The show is one of the largest fundraisers held by Victim Services, and this year, $500 were raised for the beneficiary of the event was the Zebra Coalition, a local organization that offers temporary shelter and counseling to at-risk LGBT+ youth.

Freshman Vittoria Calello, narrator of the show, cited statistics throughout the performance. Prior to a monologue on the effects of rape, Calello referenced a figure from one of the stories: 20,000 to 70,000 women were raped in Europe in 1993 as a systematic tactic of war.

The monologue, "My Vagina was My Village," also featured a dance number. Arturo Ugalde, who helped choreograph the dance, decided to construct one that would help the audience visualize the horror of rape.

"I wanted to be extra sensitive and I wanted to tackle it from an intellectual place, and from a place where I'm not offending anyone, but I'm honoring the story that's being told and I'm honoring the people who have been through this," Ugalde said.

The fourteen-member cast included three men. Sophomore theatre major Arius West said that by bridging the gap between men and women closer, men can help. Doing this inspired him to become a part of the production.

"Feminism is not about all women fighting to equal men," West said. "It's about males fighting for females to equal men as well."

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Shaquirah Jackson is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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