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V-Day campaign looking for men to join

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Performers in The Vagina Monologues from last February. Picture courtesy of Mimi Woldeyohannes.

Performers in The Vagina Monologues from last February. Picture courtesy of Mimi Woldeyohannes.

The V-Day campaign at TCU is working to establish a chapter for men called ‘V-Men.'

The global activist movement seeks to increase awareness that one of every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime, according to its official website.

In an email from Trevor Frets, the only member of V-Men, he wrote that the goal is to give university men a way to support the women they love and cherish.

Frets explained how support for V-Men has been astonishingly low.

“Since school started in the fall, I have only had two men on campus show interest," he said. "It's interesting that when a fundraiser is held for breast cancer, men will race in a 5K or dance in a flash mob, but when the purpose is for a woman's vagina, it seems that men become uncomfortable and ignorant.”

Frets wrote he wants the men on campus to realize that women can only be treated equally if men change the way they treat their women.

“To know a woman, to love a woman and to know that women around the world are unfairly paid, sexually harassed, sold as sex slaves and raped should be enough for every man to join V-Men,” he wrote.

Mimi Woldeyohannes, the executive director of V-Day at the university, said, “The situation that we are raising awareness not only effects women but men equally. They might not always be the perpetrators of the violence, but they also may be some of the victims."

She continued, "It’s not cool to generalize, so we want to make sure they are just as supportive of this movement as we are.”

The campaign supports anti-violence organizations around the world while drawing public attention to the larger fight to stop worldwide violence. The campaign wants to bring an end to violent acts including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery, according to the website.

Since 2007, the V-Day campaign has been spreading its message to the TCU community, and they are back again this year with student leaders, which include Woldeyohannes, Winta Wolana and Frets.

The TCU V-Day events will be held the week of Valentine’s Day and will include events such as a fundraiser at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. "The fundraiser will benefit the Women’s Center of Tarrant County, the TCU Assault Prevention Theatre and the national V-Day campaign," said Woldeyohannes.

Student can also expect a poetry slam, a screening of the documentary "Miss Representation" and what Frets calls the “crowned jewel that ends the week,” a presentation of the The Vagina Monologues.

"The Monologues is my favorite because there's something special about watching your female friends and classmates perform real monologues written by real women from all around the globe,” Frets wrote.

Wolana, the marketing co-director for the university's V-Day campaign, said, “The whole point of V-Day is to present a more accurate depiction of how sexual abuse is occurring nowadays.”

Woldeyohannes said, "This year we are also highlighting the V-Day campaign's accomplishments. It’s their 15th anniversary, and One Billion Rising is a huge movement that is trying to encourage one billion women around the world to stand up against violence.”

Wolana said the reason she joined the campaign was that she thought the topic of misunderstanding different genders was "a really prominent issue" to college students.

V-Week is 11-17. The detailed schedule can be found below, but all times are subject to change, according to the website.

Mon., Feb. 11: Kickoff of V-Week, 6-9 p.m. with a fundraiser at Potbelly

Tues., Feb. 12: Tabeling Tuesday, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. in front of the Mary Couts Burnett Library

Wed., Feb. 13: Movie Date Night, 7:30 p.m. in Miller (3rd floor of Brown-Lupton University Union)

Thurs., Feb. 14: Poetry Slam, 7 p.m. in front of 1873

Sat., Feb. 16: Vagina Monologues performances at 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. in the BLuU Auditorium

Sun., Feb. 17: Vagina Monologues, 2:30 p.m. in BLUU Auditorium

Anyone interested in joining the V-Day campaign can contact Mimi Woldeyohannes at m.woldeyohannes@tcu.edu, and for more on V-Men, contact Trevor Frets at trevor.frets@tcu.edu.

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