In recent years, sexual assault has been an ongoing topic of discussion on college campuses around the nation. To raise awareness about the issue, Ohio State’s College of Medicine will present its own rendition of Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues.”
This is the second year in a row that OSU has been the home of this performance under the coordination of Dr. Brett Worly.
“Mr. Worly is an OB-GYN, and he has seen a lot of victims affected by sexual assault and really felt passionately about ‘The Vagina Monologues’ as a way to raise awareness of that,” said Megan Cook, an actor and a graduate student studying medicine. Cook is also co-president for the Vagina Monologues Student Activists, a group that is focused on bringing attention to the issues of rape and sexual assault at OSU through various events, including productions of its namesake play.
The cast and crew want to make clear that sexual assault is not tolerated at OSU, said Danielle Peterson, co-president of the Vagina Monologues Student Activists and a graduate student studying medicine.
“It provides a talking point for people because when anyone experiences sexual assault, often it is an isolating event, and it makes them feel like, ‘I am not empowered,’ and they worry that there aren’t other people who are like them who’ve experienced it, “ Peterson said. “(‘The Vagina Monologues’) gives them an opportunity to see other people’s account of dealing with sexual assault, and for the other women, embracing their sexuality and seeing that there is actually a lot of people who have confronted it and have moved on and healed.”
The cast represents an array of backgrounds, including students outside the College of Medicine in programs such as music, theater and women’s gender and sexuality studies, as well as people from the community. There is also diversity in the monologues presented, Cook added.
“There’s such a variety of monologues,” Cook said. “They’re not all about sexual assault, they are very much about empowering women and getting a wider audience to sort of think about these things, think about messages that we give in our culture and think about experiences of people different than us.”
Last year, “The Vagina Monologues” performances sold out and raised more than $6,000 for the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio, according to Cook.
“Last year we had over 200 attendees at each performance,” said Jackie Mostow, coordinator of outreach for the play. “This year, (we are) hoping to reach at least a few hundred people.”
Cook echoed her excitement for the Monologues’ continued growth.
“We were amazed last year at the response. We didn’t think we’d sell a lot of tickets, we just kind of wanted to get things started, get the ball rolling, and we sold out, like, all of the performances,” Cook said. “I think we were amazed at how big of an impact it had.”
Starting this week, leading up to the performances, the College of Medicine will be holding a sanitary products drive, collecting pads and tampons. Collection sites will be located in the Multicultural Center in the Ohio Union, the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in University Hall and the College of Medicine Student Life office in Meiling Hall. All collections will be donated to Huckleberry House, a shelter for runaway youth.
“We try to identify a local place in the community where homeless women would have a need for sanitary products,” Peterson said. “On one of my OB-GYN rotations, this was a problem that we encountered, that a lot of people don’t think of, a lot of women who are homeless don’t have access to sanitary products.”
Performances will be Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Ohio Union Round Room. Tickets are $10 in advance from the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies office. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $15.
Attendees for the Sunday show can get $5 off their ticket at the door if they bring a box of pads or tampons to donate.