This letter is in response to the comments of Jenna Ashley Robinson [“V Is for Violating Modesty and Dignity,” Commentary, Feb. 13], suggesting that V-Day “makes a mockery of women’s issues” and that “instead of action, the V-Day campaign is about awareness.” Clearly Ms. Robinson did not check her facts before slandering the V-Day organization. In fact, V-Day has raised over $50 million during the past 10 years to combat violence against women. V-Day has enacted many grassroots programs, and through its actions, caused many governments to address their issues.
To cite just a few of V-Day’s activities in the recent years:
• In 2002, V-Day opened its first Safe House in Narok, Kenya, to help girls escaping female genital mutilation and teach an alternative ritual without FGM.
• V-Day sponsored a conference in Sarajevo that brought together women with different regional languages and loyalties, [seeking to promote] peace in a region ravaged by war and rape.
• V-Day held a summit in Kabul for 80 Afghan grassroots women leaders, lawyers, activists and teachers from 35 Afghan organizations, providing them with leadership training and networking opportunities.
• V-Day and Amnesty International organized a march of 7,500 people in Juarez, Mexico, to protest the inadequate response to the missing and murdered women of Juarez. V-Day supports Casa Amiga and other local NGOs providing services and advocacy to the families of the disappeared.
• V-Day supported the opening of a sanctuary for women in Himachal, India.
• V-Day raised funds for the Rape Crisis Network-Europe, Solidarité.
• V-Day launched the Karama Program in Beirut, Lebanon. Karama, Arabic for dignity, supports a regional movement across Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Sudan and Tunisia to end violence against women in the Middle East.
• V-Day partnered with Haiti’s minister of women’s affairs and rights to open the V-Day Haiti Sorority Safe House.
• V-Day, along with the women of DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and UNICEF, launched a two-year campaign in the Congo, calling for an end to the systematic rape of women in Eastern DRC and to impunity for those who commit these atrocities.
• V-day went on to start a village in the Congo for 140 women who have been traumatized by rape, where they can live safely and learn a trade.
Last year, V-day was ranked by Marie Claire magazine as one of the top 10 charities, based on the fact that 93 per cent of V-Day’s funding goes directly to ending violence against women and girls. V-Day uses The Vagina Monologues to raise funds through local productions of the play and puts those funds to work directly to each community’s designated women’s shelter. These activities in the United States and all over the world have made a major contribution in the effort to bring awareness and solutions to the problem of violence against women.
— Julie Maccarin