I can’t think of Valentine’s Day without thinking about the Vagina Monologues/V Day, and since last year, also One Billion Rising. This year, the focus of One Billion Rising was on Justice.
A wonderful example of someone promoting justice is Dale Hansen, a sportscaster from Texas, who last week spoke out in support of Michael Sam, the NFL draft pick who jumped out of the closet BEFORE the NFL draft. What a brave soul (both of them actually). Mr. Hansen quoted Audre Lord in his 2 minute speech, and pointed out that while football players are expressing fear about sharing a locker room with an openly gay teammate, someone who loves men, they are AOK with sharing a locker room with men who are known to rape women, or commit murder. I’m heartened to hear the support of the young man, and hope he is picked by an accepting team. Here’s Dale Hansen’s short speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olc5C4SXAYM
Meanwhile, last week Eve Ensler was interviewed in the Guardian about One Billion Rising. She was sure that once the Vagina Monologues were produced around the country, and the world, 16 years ago, that violence against women would stop. I had the exact same belief in 1974 when I was part of a group that started a rape crisis center, and began teaching self-defense. I was sure violence against women would end. Here we are in 2014 and one in three women will be raped and/or beaten in her lifetime. Nancy Griffin sings in one of her songs “my past is truly frightening.” I concur. I so wish it didn’t have to be that way for anyone ever again.
So what do I do? Last year I helped organize One Billion Rising. Now I want to find out what I can about the issue of sex trafficking in Portland, the #2 hub in the country. What I do on a regular basis is sculpt labias in clay, celebrating the feminine, and healing past abuse. I now offer Claybia Workshops so any woman can create her own sculptures. I’m full circle to the “personal is political”, which I learned 40 years ago. While violence hasn’t ended, we are much more able to talk about what’s going on in the world, around the world, and that gives me hope.