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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Caught in the ACT: Vagina Monologues coming this weekend!

<turday, Feb. 13, at 8:00 p.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel, Carleton students will hold their annual performance of the Vagina Monologues, to give voice to the voiceless and empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This is a campus-wide effort that not only draws attention to the challenging issues of women’s sexuality, abuse, and the ethics of advocacy, but also supports the greater community through fundraising. This year, proceeds will be donated as far as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the more local HOPE (Healing, Outreach, Prevention, Education) Center in Faribault, continuing and strengthening Carleton’s relationship with Rice County.

Irene Koplinka-Loehr ‘10, a Program Director for HOPE Center since her sophomore year, says of her role, “What I value is the ability to listen and empower individuals to make the choices that they want to make… learning (about myself and the individuals I am contacted by) continues to be a humbling and valuable part of working with the HOPE Center.”

In line with these values of listening, learning and empowerment, this year, Irene, as well as several enthusiastic advocates, met and brainstormed ways to increase the organization’s recognition on campus, in light of the Vagina Monologues. The importance of this event, Irene says, “continues to be valid, important, and timely… Despite changing times and expectations for women in the current era, there is a beauty in appreciating the experiences of what it means to have a vagina that is not lost in the generation gap. As I grow and change, I resonate with the monologues in new and different ways.”

Through tabling last week, the group organized an interactive poster campaign similar to the posters initiated by the GSC at the beginning of the term, effectively titled “Consent is Sexy!” They prompted Carls in Sayles to describe their favorite ways to ask for consent, in order to spark a campus-wide conversation about HOPE Center advocacy and the Vagina Monologues. Irene describes the feedback as positive and in line with the campaign’s goals: “I have had many conversations that touch on the value of literally asking for consent: ‘Is it entirely necessary? Shouldn’t you already be at a place with another person where you have both mutually and enthusiastically agreed to be there before you act?’ What [the posters] serve to do is creatively engage us to think about how we choose to use consent in our relationships. They offer a venue to slow down the action, to assess: do both parties intentionally and excitedly want to do this? If yes, by all means, continue!” The words of real Carleton students are not only creative and sexy, but send a message of a campus-wide resistance to sexual violence.

HOPE Center advocates will also table in the Chapel lobby, providing more information and answering questions about their organization. Please stop by the Chapel and support V-Day and the HOPE Center, with a suggested donation of $5-$15 and your open ears and minds.

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