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Prolific Monologues to Address Violence Against Women & Girls in “Wounded To Death”

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 26 2013 (IPS) - The fight to end violence against women and girls remains a critical issue for the  global community as the world gathered to observe Orange Day—the International Day to End Violence Against on the 25 November, 2013.  Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights and has a long lasting consequence on the victims, the families, the communities and the countries that suffer its wrath.

A performance of “Wounded to Death” in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters. Credit: Lusha Chen/IPS

A performance of “Wounded to Death” in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters. Credit: Lusha Chen/IPS

To keep the issue fresh in people’s minds and to spread the word in a way that is relatable to all, Italian journalist Serena Dandini has written and produced a play called “Wounded to Death,” a series of monologues based on true events that tell the horrifying and prolific stories of women who have been victims of femicide.

During a special performance at the United Nations headquarters on Tuesday night, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women emphasized the importance of putting violence against women and girls on the map and called its omission from the Millennium Development Goals “glaring.”

According to A Promise is A Promise, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign to end violence against women and girls, 7 in 10 women worldwide have reportedly experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. The kinds of sexual attacks that women and girls experience go beyond non-intimate partner violence to intimate partner violence, violence while pregnant, female genital mutilation, and also abduction and trafficking.  It is said that 80 percent of the 800,000 people trafficked across national borders are women and girls, and 79 percent of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

The numbers are staggering and beg a troubling question: are we making ourselves clear that violence against women and girls is unacceptable?

In an effort to clarify an important point and to connect this human violation to pop culture, Dandini puts together a performance featuring famous women in the arts, music and film industry—easily bridging the gap between civil society, private sector and community.

A performance that lays bare the awful truths of sexual abuse within homes in England, to a rape and murder in Central Park, no stone is left unturned in Dandini’s “Wounded to Death.”  With a leading cast that includes famed artist Marina Abramovic, Italian actress and model Maria Grazia Cucinotta, photographer Nan Goldin, singer Amanda Palmer and philanthropist Abigail Disney, the monologues are written in a way that causes the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the women whose lives met their unspeakable end because of femicide—a criminal act likely to go unnoticed by many.

“Violence against women isn’t cultural, it’s criminal.  Equality cannot come eventually, it’s something we must fight for now.” said U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, in a statement released on Tuesday. There’s something to be said about watching famed actresses and artists perform disturbing accounts of sexual violence; in their professional capacity they are able to emulate the lives of those passed as if they themselves have suffered horrendous violence.

As a partnership between UN Women and the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, “Wounded to Death” is an example of the power of storytelling in a way to protect the human rights of women and girls.

 
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