SHIRLEY — Imagine a young woman, maybe 20, finishing her first semester of college. She’s popular. She’s fun. She’s the “center of the circle,” so to speak. Only the circle is a group of young men, having consumed copious amounts of alcohol, closing in on the young girl at a party held at a clearing in the woods, the mood having shifted from light to dark.
She could be anyone.
A young man, known to her, carried her into the woods where the others surrounded her. In the dark she could feel them.
Faced with the threat of gang rape, she thought to herself, “Face it. You put yourself here. This is the end of the road you chose.”
She began to resign herself to a situation she thought may end her life, if not physically, then emotionally.
“You can’t rape the willing,” she thought. That is, until she felt the regret of what these boys intended to do.
Something shifted in her mind, and she decided to fight.
“Inside my mind there was something screaming,” she recalled. “Blood rushing, heart pounding, mind screaming. And I fought. Arms swinging, legs kicking.”
“But only a few of them fought back,” she said. “My terror, my frantic, lunatic-like flaying had seemed to wake the rest back to reality. One of them said something about this being disgusting and walked away.”
The rest, she said, stayed until they heard the magic words from one of their own. Over the screaming, the partygoers, now attempted rapists, heard from one of their own a single sentence loud and clear.
“She’s not worth this effort,” he said.
“One sentence heard,” she said. “I wasn’t worth it.”
These are excerpts from a monologue written by Shirley resident Christine House, entitled “Blueberry Hill.”
The piece, performed as part of a two-week festival in New York City, helped shed light on a movement Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler has been working to bring to women and men worldwide.
With a series of theater performance and community events, the festival is intended to increase awareness of violence against women.
Presented by V-Day, “Until the Violence Stops” is celebrating its eighth year in New York City, Ensler said.
The Rockefeller Foundation provided start-up support, alongside Verizon as the lead corporate sponsor who “gave a huge donation,” said Ensler at the opening of “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer,” performed on Monday, June 19, during the eighth day of the festival.
Women and girls of all ages attended the performance, as well as men, although the latter were clearly outnumbered.
“Until the Violence Stops: NYC,” according to a press release, “will issue a call to action to all New Yorkers and the world: Demand an end to violence against women and girls.”
“Thousands of women were inspired to help with this movement,” said Ensler.
By the evening of the performance, 31 events had already taken place in the city.
Here in Massachusetts and around the country, benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” are performed annually to raise money for local groups working to help women and girls who have been the victims of violence.
“Our charge is to promote the well-being of the community worldwide,” said Ensler.
“V also stands for victory and for vision,” the V-Day advocate said.
For information about local V-Day task force chapters visit www.vday.org.