EVANSTON — Each year, on a date near Valentine’s Day, people across the world in hundreds of countries gather in large groups to rise up and speak out against violence perpetrated on women and girls. Launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, the event began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With a global population of seven billion, this means one billion women and girls will be abused.
Soroptomist of Evanston sponsors the event every year, and on Saturday, March 7, 25 women and one little girl gathered at the Beeman-Cashin building to support this international movement.
Jessica Kendrick, president of the local Soroptomists, gathered the women in a circle and had them count off in threes. She then asked all of those who were number one to step into the center of the circle, demonstrating the one in three statistic of violence against women. Drums and rattles were distributed among the attendees and Patricia Arnold led the group in a drumming session.
Following the drumming, five women — Angie Fessler, Debbie Nees, Tammy Koncitik, Kayne Pyatt and Jean Cox — performed several pieces of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” The monologues deal with different forms of violence against women including verbal abuse, mass rape, genital mutilation and also demonstrate women reclaiming the value of their vagina and honoring the miracle of birth and how much women bleed for the world.
Patricia Arnold and Mary Boal then led the circle of women in Nia dancing and movement, followed by time for sharing refreshments and personal stories.