Tag Archives: Rowan Center

“Vagina Monologues” Comes To Town

It began as casual conversations with friends. Soon Eve Ensler began talking with women she did not know. Eventually she spoke with 200 of them.

Their discussions about sex and relationships often turned to the topic of violence against women. The project — which Ensler had envisioned as a celebration of vaginas and femininity — became a crusade to stop that violence.

Since its off-Broadway debut in 1996, “The Vagina Monologues” — which explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, sex work and other topics through the eyes of women of various ages, races and sexualities — has become one of the most impactful plays of our time.

It also sparked the V-Day Movement, a global non-profit aimed at ending violence against women and girls.

“The Vagina Monologues” forms the cornerstone of the movement. Benefit performances take place worldwide each year between February and April. All  must stick to an annual script that V-Day puts out.

Performances benefit rape crisis centers, shelters for women and similar resources. So far, they’ve raised over $120 million.

This year, Westport Library has been chosen to produce a V-Day event. Beneficiaries are the Center for Family Justice and the Rowan Center sexual assault agency. Many cast members are Westport residents.

Set for Friday, February 21, the event begins with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception. The performance will be followed by a conversation between the cast and audience, about themes and issues brought up in the play.

The suggested donation is $20. However, all donation levels are accepted (and appreciated). For tickets, click here.

Minute Man Race: The WYWL Back Story

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Which makes this a perfect opportunity to highlight the Westport Young Woman’s League’s $20,000 Super Grant recipient: the Rowan Center.

Formerly known as the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis and Counseling Education, the Stamford-based organization empowers clients to find strength, resilience and courage — while educating Fairfield County communities to help change social norms.

In Westport, the Rowan Center puts the WYWL’s grant toward programs in the elementary schools, and Staples High.

In addition, the Young Woman’s League is partnering with the Rowan Center and Westport Library to screen the documentary “Roll Red Roll” (Tuesday, April 30, 6:30 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church). A panel discussion follows.

The film uncovers the “rape culture” in Steubenville, Ohio, brought to light at a high school football party. Teenage social media bullying ran rampant, as adults looked away.

The Rowan Center grant is just part of what the Westport Young Woman’s League does. Last year they gave over $80,000 to local and education-based charitable organization. Recipients include A Better Chance of Westport, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Caroline House, CLASP Homes, Homes with Hope, Family & Children’s Agency, Mercy Learning Center and Positive Directions.

But that money does not fall from the sky.

One of the WYWL’s major fundraising events is the Minute Man Race.

Actually, “races.” This year there are 10K and 5K runs, a 5K walk, and a Kids Fun Run with Kids Zone.

The 41st annual Minute Man Race is set for Sunday, April 28. It starts and ends at Compo Beach.

The start of a Minute Man race is always exciting.

It’s 4 decades old, but there are always new twists. For the first time this year, there’s a “corporate and small business team” category. The WYWL encourages local businesses to sign up and compete together, for a fun team-builder that helps good causes.

You’ve seen the signs. You know the Minute Man Race.

Now that you know the back story — where the money goes — there’s even more incentive to run. Or walk.

Or just donate and cheer.

(For more information on the Minute Man Race — including registration and sponsorships — click here.)