The following is a moving, informative speech that was delivered at the conclusion of a benefit performance which was organized to collect money for charities dedicated to helping abused women.
Although I am honoured to have been associated with tonight’s presentation of the Vagina Monologues, there were some challenges putting this affair together. Not the least was trying to accommodate 40 talented performers in a play that usually requires a cast of between 20 and 30 women.
However, because I believed that every one who auditioned for this play deserved to be a part of it, the result was a head count more suitable for one of the teams playing in the Super Bowl tomorrow.
So, to all of the actresses, I apologize for any bumps and bruises that you might have incurred rehearsing and performing on such a crowded stage. But I am most grateful for your selfless dedication and unbridled enthusiasm in making this play a success, and for making this an experience that I will cherish forever.
This event would also not have been possible without the devotion and considerable organizational skills of the V-Day Wilkes-Barre 2005 Committee, and the generous support of our sponsors: River Street Jazz Café and Entercom Communications, The Clay Pot and Averni Interactive, and Rep Phyllis Mundy and Friedman Electric.
I would also like to thank ‘The Times Leader’, ‘The Citizens Voice’, ‘The Weekender’, Froggy 101, EZ103, WKRZ, WVIA and WBHT for providing us prominent channels to say NO to violence against women.
Sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, which was recently commemorated, we are still trying to eradicate the evil that spawned it. For today, societies in every country, including our own, face different threats of hatred that can be compared in intent, if not in scale, to the Holocaust. Women around the world, more often than not, are the targets of many of these injustices and atrocities.
Since the U.S. occupation and regime change in their homeland, many Iraqi women have lost more of their freedom. Increases in rape and abduction, fear of acid attacks, and killings for bringing shame to the family honour, have brought about a drop in school enrolment and attendance, and increased unemployment and prostitution amongst this country’s female population. Therefore, 10% of our profits, tonight, will go towards efforts by Iraqi women’s organizations to alleviate this appalling situation.
Closer to home, amongst other breaches of conduct, there are 24 domestic violence related police calls per day in Luzerne County – how many others are not reported? We are forever indebted to the Domestic Violence Service Center and Victim's Resource Center for their indispensable services and we hope that the remainder of tonight’s profits will make a considerable dent against cruelty and violence against the women of Luzerne, Carbon and Wyoming Counties.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all of you in attendance, tonight, for your charitable endorsement and your warm support for this celebration of women.
And so, as this performance comes to a close, I would like to say that my hope is that the curtain will also soon fall on all acts of moral transgressions and abusive treatment towards all women on the world stage. And I do so with the words of Eve Ensler, who said:
”Go further. Work harder. Believe deeper. Be bolder. Speak louder. We will win.”