She was a rock’n’roll powerhouse who electrified audiences worldwide. As Tina Turner releases a guide to happiness, she talks to playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler) about how she found the strength to overcome illness, abuse and tragedy.
On Oct. 2, I watched the President of the United States mock a woman who had recounted the trauma of being sexually assaulted in front of the world, on live television. And as he did so, a recent poll rattled around my head.
If you are a woman in America or a man who cares about women, I urge you to read this carefully as you approach voting on November 8. Even if you have been able to ignore the fact that Trump is an incompetent, racist, Islamophobic bigot who doesn’t believe in climate change, will cut Planned Parenthood, and move us back to the dark ages with abortion, I deeply hope this will change your mind.
In April this year, I had the honor of writing a piece on Nadia Murad for the TIME 100 list of the most influential people of the year. Nadia is a member of the ethnic Kurdish minority Yazidi people, one of thousands who was brutally enslaved by ISIS in Iraq, who now bravely travels the world to raise awareness of the genocide.
I am thinking of the price list leaked out from the ISIS Sex Slave Market, that included women and girls on the same list as cattle. ISIS needed to impose price controls as they were worried about a down turn in their market.
Eve Ensler recently spoke with Yanar Mohammed about the impact of the U.S. military invasion and occupation of Iraq, the people’s uprisings in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, and the horrific violence, fear and trauma that Iraqi women face daily.
Transparent, Orange Is the New Black and Sense8 have brought transgender characters to wider TV audiences. But where are all the trans love stories? The author of The Vagina Monologues unveils the sexy new web series Her Story.
No one believed my father was a battering sex abuser. He was handsome, a corporate president. He was successful, charming, a man’s man. He wore tailored suits. He played golf. He drank martinis. He was celebrated at country clubs and knew the first names of head maitre d’s at the fanciest exclusive restaurants. He was arrogant and smug the way Bill Cosby is arrogant and smug.
Twenty years ago, when I wrote The Vagina Monologues, it was very difficult to say the word vagina anywhere. The public utterance of the word alone was explosive as so much of the truth about what happened to vaginas was repressed, denied, kept secret, and coated in shame and self-hatred.
One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime; ending violence against women is as important as ending poverty, or Aids or global warming. That’s why I want you to join our campaign.
I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.
It’s 14 years since we started V-Day. We made a determination that we were going to end violence against women and girls. It was an audacious and almost absurd idea, but we committed to it. We believed we could change human consciousness and make the world a place where women were safe, free, equal, with agency over their bodies and futures.
It was cold in Zuccotti Park this week for our Ambiguous Upsparkles group. Particularly late into it as the sun went down and a wet Autumn wind rose up in the yellow orange trees from the bottom of Manhattan. It was cold and so we huddled together on the concrete steps for warmth, to make it easier to hear, to allow the stories to pass amongst us and through us. We repeated each line of each person’s story and the repeating kept us warm.
This past Sunday we had our second Ambiguous UpSparkle Story group at Occupy Wall Street. This time there were hundreds of people who came to tell of what brought them to the park, and to listen and repeat the stories of the others. There was something Greek and theatrical about this huge group of people repeating every line of every story. It was a story chorus. It took time in a culture and city where there is no time. It took attention in a world where we are trained to not pay attention. It required people to listen when people have stopped listening.
I have been watching and listening to all kinds of views and takes on Occupy Wall Street. Some say it’s backed by the Democratic Party. Some say it’s the emergence of a third party. Some say the protesters have no goals, no demands, no stated call. Some say it’s too broad, taking on too much. Some say it is the Left’s version of the Tea Party. Some say its Communist, some say it’s class warfare. Some say it will burn out and add up to nothing. Some say it’s just a bunch of crazy hippies who may get violent.
On this, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, I want to take a minute to honor grassroots women’s activists across the planet — women, like those working tirelessly in Haiti, who have inspired their communities, united their communities, and led their communities, holding them together and pushing them forward.
Vagina is the most terrifying word, the most threatening word, in any language of any country I have ever been to. Even when the vagina is worshiped in theory, as the yoni is in India, it is denigrated in practice.
I have been back in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for two weeks now meeting with leaders, activists, social workers, therapists, recent survivors, business owners, UN officials. There is good news and bad news.
I love being a girl.
I can feel what you’re feeling
as you’re feeling it inside
I am an emotional creature.
Things do not come to me
as intellectual theories or hard-shaped ideas.
They pulse through my organs and legs
and burn up my ears.
Having just been in the Congo for the last month, it is evident that the more than 12-year economic war in the Democratic Republic of Congo rages on. Almost 6 million dead. Almost 500 thousand raped. Here is what I propose.
When I saw the petition protesting the recent arrest of Roman Polanski in Switzerland was signed by some of my most cherished artists — the likes of Pedro Almodovar, Ariel Dorfman, Costa Gavras, Jonathan Demme, Sam Mendes — men who I believed to be champions of women’s and human rights, frankly, I was shocked.
In 1996, I was sitting with twenty thousand grieving women in a stadium in Tuzla, Bosnia. The women were holding photographs of husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and boyfriends who had been disappeared a year earlier in a place called Srebrenica, a UN enclave where Bosnian refugees had turned over their protection to UN peacekeepers who stood passively as ten thousand of their men were marched off to be slaughtered.
Just over a year ago, in answering whether sexual violence in conflict was an issue that the U.N. Security Council should take on, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice proclaimed, “I am proud that, today, we respond to that lingering question with a resounding ‘yes!'”
I spent the last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), much of my time in Goma. There, I was privileged to be part of the first public testimonies where women survivors of rape and sexual torture came forward in front hundreds to bravely break the silence on the terrible atrocities done to their bodies and souls during the twelve-year conflict that has embroiled the DRC.
They were the perfect parents. I was 23. I was depressed and fragile and hardly here in this world. I was writing and writing as a way of survival. They took me under their wing. They pushed me and fed me and criticized my script with red pencils, they nurtured me and encouraged me to be funny. To always be funny. But mainly, they believed in me.
I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears.
Dear America: I am longing to reach you — crossing this river of indifference and consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through the desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through the rhetoric of terror and God.
In Afghanistan, members of a secret organization of women risk death to give other women education and hope. Eve Ensler took a harrowing undercover journey to chronicle their fight against the Taliban — one of the most repressive regimes in history.
Being hip almost killed me. I grew up in Scarsdale, a grotesquely wealthy suburb of New York City, and I failed at striving early on. I always had the wrong clothes, and I never had a car, a phone, social skills, a nose job, a Bat Mitzvah, or a dot of confidence.