UCF Victim Services performs The Vagina Monologues to bring awareness to students
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 14:03
The muggy Theatre Downtown buzzed with giddy laughter from women of all ages Sunday afternoon as Nikki Mier, Fairvilla manager, warmed up the crowd with some personal questions before the UCF Victims Advocate production of The Vagina Monologues.
“Who here is a known vibrator user?” Mier asked as her first question. “Fifty to 80 percent of women find it impossible to reach orgasm by vaginal penetration alone.”
Mier discussed myriad topics about sexual health ranging from kegel exercises to choosing the right condom. She also had a purple vagina puppet to help illustrate some of the topics she discussed.
Fairvilla was just one of the organizations tabling in support of the “V-Day Until the Violence Stops” message of the night. The Victim Service Center of Orange County had a table with informational brochures available. UCF Victim Services had a table set up as well, selling crocheted, chocolate and clay vaginas as well as raffle tickets for gift baskets and vibrators from Fairvilla.
Mandy Burgan, a UCF junior majoring in radio/television production, was the featured musician as part of the pre-show where she showcased some songs she wrote herself as well as a few covers. She was also an actor in the performance where she played more songs and revealed multiple vagina facts.
Amanda Hankins, a UCF senior majoring in creative writing and a UCF victim advocate, was the director, second-year producer and an actor in The Vagina Monologues.
“I do a lot of prevention/education on campus throughout the year and awareness events such as The Vagina Monologues to raise consciousness and support for Victim Services,” said Hankins, whose performance this year is her third in the monologues.
Hankins became interested in being a victim’s advocate three years ago when she was a service learning student for women’s studies and through her participation in The Vagina Monologues for the first time that same year.
All proceeds from the show went to funding for Victim Services’ Victim Assistance Fund, which is the emergency fund for victims who need emergency financial assistance for things such as housing or grocery gift cards to sustain them through the process.
“Socially, I hope this event brings awareness to a much larger issue: violence against women, which is a worldwide problem,” Hankins said. “Also, I hope it inspires those same audience members to become more active in addressing these issues in their own lives and being a voice for those who cannot speak.”
UCF Victim Services performs The Vagina Monologues every March to complement National Women’s Month. The following month, April, is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Cast members consisted of current and former UCF students as well as community members.
Assistant producers and actors Rakiyah Sutherland and Amanda Puttrich, both UCF seniors majoring in criminal justice and sociology, explained their passion behind their activism.
“It’s empowerment. I think everyone should see it [The Vagina Monologues], get past the word vagina and come hear the message because it’s an amazing story,” Sutherland said. “Everyone should be aware of the violence women and girls go through on a day-to-day basis.”
Eve Ensler wrote the first draft of The Vagina Monologues in 1996 after she interviewed 200 women about everything to do with sex. Her purpose was to celebrate vaginas, and it has turned into a movement to stop violence against women. There were a total of 18 monologues, each one telling a different woman’s story. The monologue “My name is …” about human trafficking by Hankins was the only monologue not written by Ensler.
“One of the perks is getting to work with all the different people, helping them find their unique little thing that makes their monologues so them,” Puttrich said. “I really like being there to support them.”