V Day 2014

One Billion Rising in Rome


V Day is fast approaching.  It is a day dedicated to empowering women to rise up against the violence perpetuated on them simply because of their gender.  V Day was inspired by Eve eve enslerEnslers’ performance piece the Vagina Monologues.  Empowered by the incredibly powerful and positive reaction to her play, in 2001 Eve launched V Day, a non-profit organization, which demands rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery end immediately and believes “women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities”.  Last year millions of women around the globe rose up and danced together on V-Day, which not coincidentally falls on Valentine’s day because beatings, strangulation, rape and mutilation do not look like love to us.


Want to feel empowered? Come out and dance with us.  Go see the Vagina Monologues. Next year get a part in the play. The Monologues are not a static script, they change and morph as new women add their voices.



Abuse against women and children makes me sad.  It’s a constant grief in my heart, a never-ending burden of anguish.  And I am one of the lucky ones – loving father, enlightened husband, a son considerate and respectful of women.  For their sakes I battled through my rage and owned my own complicity in my culture’s ongoing disdain for women.  But I still can’t understand the inherent cruelty humanity exhibits toward the powerless.  It often brings me to the brink of despair.



For me, the antidote to despair is the friendship of women.  That friendship nourishes and sustains me.  Amazingly, wherever I go I find I find women full of compassion, intelligence, wisdom and humor to befriend.  I don’t mean all women are wonderful  – of course not – but wonderful women abound in every place and clime.  V-Day brings them dancing out into the streets.  It’s a glorious celebration of femininity that demonstrates why for so many tens of thousands of years, humankind revered the  feminine. willendorf venus 2I love women.  I love myself.  The following valentines are for us…



One Sitting/One Billion Rising  

The path, flowed

rippled through time

moving between worlds

traversing past, present, future

guiding the footsteps of millions

though each one walked alone.

One day, tired of moving endlessly forward

a woman sat down upon the ground.

Others joined her. There they sat

smack dab in the middle.

Humanity pushed on around them.

They tossed their pasts into the circle –

photographs, tattered sketches, a battered box, a cradle.

A gypsy snapped her fingers

flames danced beneath the cauldron

(women always have a cauldron).

Pawing through purses, they pulled out

onion, tomato, turnip, fish

potatoes, collards, salt.

Smacking, drooling, cackling

women drank the soup

wiped the vessel clean

and pooled their dreams.

                        ©2013 Christine Irving

  V Day:  Intermission at the Monologues

Last night I bled hot tears of rage and grief

poked a wound I know will never heal

a girl beside me, sitting all alone

spilled family secrets in my ear

rape-shame, passed down through generations three

still cast its cruel spell; twisted her mind

into a rational for laying low

keeping quiet, disguised, discreetly dull…

She thinks liberation is a theory –

silly dream, too far-fetched to fly aloft.

She’s swapping beauty for security

blonde hair brushed straight and flat against the skull

beige blouse, loose khaki pants

plain ears un-pierced; no hint of sparkle

not even a hole left behind to mark

the spot where once she’d yearned for bling to shine.

She took those earrings out because

her dad refused to look at her ‑

his mother’s shameful rape was all he saw

when baubles swung so pretty from her lobes.

It must have been her Nana’s fault- they all thought so.

©2013 Christine Irving

As Long As Women 

As long as women sing to the ash and praise the sun

pack their wounds with poetry and prose

sculpt prayers in river clay and smear

a drop of menstrual blood  into each painting,

we have time to go slowly.

Time to wash the same dish fifteen times

while brooding on words

like, “iridescence” and “detergent;”

time to still impulsive fingers itching

for ochre, rose madder, cobalt, burnt sienna

and wait for the belly

to incubate vision.

Time for a lifetime

of incremental change‑

allowing the gap

between provocation

and response

to widen in seconds‑ one,

three, five, twenty-four…

hours to sit around

talking our walk,

breathing, crying; breathing, laughing;

indulging in contemplation; consenting

to silence until silence, welling

from the center, turns to love

and we could sit together, forever.

©2000 Christine Irving

This entry was posted in Circle, Community, Consciousness, Dance, Girls, Herstory, Love, Misogyny, Poetry, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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