University City

UNC Charlotte production is easily relatable for women

Most of the women in the upcoming performances of “The Vagina Monologues” at UNC Charlotte aren’t regular performers or even theater majors, but they’re perfect for their roles nonetheless.

They can read the words in the script and understand exactly how the characters feel in the play.

It turns out many women can, and that’s part of the success behind the well-known work.

It will run Jan. 30-Feb. 1 on the UNC Charlotte campus as part of the V-Day Campaign, a global movement launched by the play’s writer, Eve Ensler, to end violence against women.

Ensler created “The Vagina Monologues” – a collection of speeches delivered by different performers – after interviewing hundreds of women from all walks of life on such issues as intimacy, relationships and violence against women.

“Every girl is going to see themselves in one or two of those stories,” said Bristol Anderson, 22, a psychology and sociology double major, and one of the performers this week. “That’s why I like the ‘Monologues.’ ”

Anderson said she felt chills roll down her spine and sensed an instant connection the first time she read “And Then We Were Jumping,” Ensler’s own story. It hints at an incestuous relationship with her father and the forgiveness she eventually found.

For Anderson, who will perform the monologue, the words struck a chord.

“I came out as a rape survivor last year. I’m able to feel her pain,” she said. “For me, she’s saying, ‘This is what forgiveness feels like. This is justice. This is closure.’ ”

Neither Ensler nor Anderson is alone.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 of every 7 victims of a reported sexual assault is younger than age 6. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 5 female college students reported that they had been forced into sexual intercourse against their will.

Other monologues delve into such issues as domestic abuse, an issue that will affect 1 in 4 women during her lifetime.

Every year around Valentine’s Day, more than 5,500 performances of “The Vagina Monologues” are staged, usually by women’s groups, to call attention to the violence committed against females worldwide.

The Office of Women’s Programs sponsors UNCC’s performances. Proceeds benefit Safe Alliance’s Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter in Charlotte.

Princess King, assistant director of minority support services and women’s programs at UNCC, said the university has held performances of “The Vagina Monologues” for more than 10 years. The performances have raised between $2,500 and $3,000 each year for the effort to stop violence against women and children.

For Anderson, the purpose of the production is clear.

“ ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is all about focusing on womanhood, learning to love yourself and all of those lovely things that I think I needed at that point in my life, and actually need to this day.”