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V-Day: Global Movement to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls Marks 20th Anniversary

StoryFebruary 14, 2018
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As the White House is facing an escalating scandal over how it ignored the serious accusations of former Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s verbal and physical violence against his two ex-wives, we end today’s show looking at the worldwide movement called V-Day to stop violence against women and girls. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the V-Day movement, which was inspired by Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play “The Vagina Monologues.” We speak to three V-Day activists from around the world: Christine Schuler Deschryver of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rada Borić from Croatia and Agnes Pareyio from Kenya.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As the White House is facing an escalating scandal over how it ignored the serious accusations of former Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s verbal and physical abuse against his two ex-wives—allegations are he punched one of them in the face, we’ve seen photos of her black eye—we end today’s show looking at the worldwide movement called V-Day, to stop violence against women and girls. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the V-Day movement, inspired by Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues.

For more, we’re joined by three guests: Christine Schuler Deschryver, who is director of V-Day Congo, co-founder of, the director of the City of Joy; Rada Borić is a V-Day and One Billion Rising global coordinator from Croatia; and Agnes Pareyio is the Kenya director for V-Day.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Christine, I saw you last night. Eve Ensler has a new play out, In the Body of the World. And you spoke afterwards. Talk about the significance of this day.

CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: Well, first of all, like you said, it’s the 20th anniversary. And we are very happy to be here and to—also to show the world what V-Day has accomplished the last 20 years and how amazing the movement is, and also like—also with our One Billion Rising.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Rada, you come from Croatia. Talk about what you’re dealing with there. And when you hear our reports and what’s happening in the White House and President Trump himself accused of sexual assault and harassment?

RADA BORIĆ: I think, unfortunately, what is going on here is just mirroring everywhere in what we call mainstream politics, and, of course, that the men, high-ranking men, including presidents or prime ministers, in Europe, try to hide the violence against women committed by their own staff. And I think it’s absolutely unacceptable, especially when we talk about 20 years later of V-Day and what we have accomplished in the movement, that this synergy of women from different women’s groups and different women’s movements, that started in the '70s, but that now we have V-Day, I think that what we should be proud, it's most probably the most biggest-ever global movement. It will be this year, and it was last year, in over 200 countries, from, you know, Kosovo to Germany, or from Bangladesh to Philippines. Women, women workers, domestic workers, women who have been violated, women from women’s workers’ unions, they all are coming together with the same notion: It’s really enough. It’s really enough with violence.

AMY GOODMAN: Agnes, in Kenya, you have founded the first V-Day Safe House for Girls. Explain what is there.

AGNES PAREYIO: The safe house is meant to rescue girls running away from female genital mutilation and early marriages. This is part of a culture, because I come from a Masai community where they’re still one with their culture. And after educating these girls in the field, the girls say no to female genital mutilation. Then we came up with this idea of having a safe house where they can run to. It is a successful program, because so many girls run to us. The safe house can accommodate 49 girls at a time. And we also have a reconciliation process, where we reconcile these girls after they have run to the safe house, and then after, a few years after we have taken them to school, we reconcile them with their parents, and they have been accepted back in their homes.

AMY GOODMAN: In Part 2 of our discussion, we’re going to go more deeply into what this means and how it can be a model around the world. But I wanted to ask Christine about—you know, we’ve been talking for years now, as you’ve come to this country for the last 10 years as part of the V-Day movement. But in this last year, with the election of Trump, what is the awareness of President Trump in Congo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the message it sends?

CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: You know, first of all, I think that Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and he’s a guy who doesn’t love black people and has no respect, because if you have no respect for women, how can you have—how can you respect black people? So, I don’t think he’s an important character or—I don’t know how I can call him, because I have no respect at all for him. And we are a movement. V-Day is a movement to fight violence against women. And when we somebody like him, who has no respect at all for human beings and for women, I mean, he means nothing for us.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you hopeful—

CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: And we have no expectations, you know, from the U.S. That’s why I believe in movement. And I think we have to be the change we want in DRC.

AMY GOODMAN: And we’re going to leave this part of the conversation on movement, but we’ll talk about this movement in Part 2, which we’ll post online at That does it for our broadcast. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us. And happy V-Day!

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25 Years of V-Day: Ending Gender Violence, Fighting Tentacles of Patriarchy & New “Reckoning” Memoir

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