For the first time at Binghamton University, students united for One Billion Rising, an international movement against women’s violence that uses Feb. 14, or “V-Day,” to increase awareness.
Eve Ensler, founder of the organization and author of “The Vagina Monologues,” named the movement using the fact that one in three women are abused in their lifetime, adding up to 1 billion women worldwide.
Thirty men and women crowded into the Uppergrounds in the New University Union Thursday evening, talking among themselves and decorating Valentines for women in shelters.
PEACE OUTside Campus, a student group that promotes nonviolence, and Lamda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. Epsilon Omicron Chapter, organized the event, which featured a screening of “The Vagina Monologues,” with help from the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program.
Sofia Sainz, chair of public relations and community and service at Lamda Theta Alpha, said she was pleased that BU was taking part in the movement.
“There were a lot of options — other schools do dances, walks, or have concerts — so it’s a small event in comparison, but we’re still getting involved,” said Sainz, a senior majoring in environmental studies.
The event started with a short film from One Billion Rising, showing the faces of women from around the world who were beaten and raped. Smiles broke out among attendees as the women in the video stood up against their oppressors.
There was an uneasy laughter as the main film began, both from the actors and the viewers. After speaking with more than 200 women, the narrator of “The Vagina Monologues” relayed stories about their experiences with this taboo body part.
Shane Tracy, a freshman majoring in engineering, said the event wasn’t what he expected.
“I thought it was good, just very different,” Tracy said. “But the women showed they have power and seemed proud.”
Rachel Sommers, president of PEACE OUTside Campus, said she hoped the event got the message across, even if on a small scale.
“We want to bring awareness about women’s violence to students … and spread peace around campus,” said Sommers, a junior majoring in psychology.
But Sommers said she was disappointed the group had to hold the event on such short notice.
Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator Jessica Krohn said she will help students to build on the event in the coming years.
Krohn encouraged students to get involved in any way they can to support next year’s One Billion Rising.
“We would love to bust out a huge dance next year, it’ll just take some more advanced planning,” Krohn said.