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Medical Center aims to raise awareness with ‘Vagina Monologues’

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The private will become more public when members of the Ohio State College of Medicine take the stage to raise awareness about sexual assault, via a production of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Supported by the OSU Medical Alumni Arts Endowment Fund, Dr. Brett Worly, an OB-GYN at the Wexner Medical Center, has gathered students, faculty and alumni from the medical center to participate.

The play contains roughly 15 accounts from a variety of women, speaking on topics ranging from body awareness to rape experiences. The Vagina Monologues was first performed off-Broadway by Eve Ensler in 1996. The play is based off of interviews Ensler did with hundreds of women.

Funds raised by the performance will benefit the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio.

“‘The Vagina Monologues,’ at its core, is about awareness,” Worly said. “Sexual assault and misconduct are so prevalent on college campuses, and also with many of the patients I care for as an OB-GYN. It’s so common, yet so rarely discussed.”

Worly also wants the topic to become less taboo, and said he hopes people will see “The Vagina Monologues” and conjure the bravery to tell their story or seek assistance.

“I just wish that all women knew that we support them, and we’re here to help,” he said.

For Danielle Peterson, show director and a second-year medical student, “The Vagina Monologues” is about more than women’s sex lives.

“A lot of people think the show is about women’s sexual relations with the world, but it’s more about women coming to terms with who they are and how they feel about themselves and how that collides with how society portrays them,” she said.

She said she hopes the production will help start a more open societal conversation about sexual assault.

“Sex and rape are typically marginalized untouchable topics, and doing a show like this in front of an audience really helps to turn these things into topics that are more mainstream and acceptable to talk about in public,” she said. “The more that happens, I think more people will start to become aware of the rights they’re entitled to with their own bodies.”

Peterson said she wants the audience to leave the hospital auditorium with a greater sense of self-worth.

“I want people to find satisfaction in who they are without the need of fulfilling any role that society has already prescribed for them,” she said. “We want this show to transform how women see themselves, as well as the way men see women.”

“The Vagina Monologues” will run Thursday through Saturday at OSU’s Ross Heart Hospital Auditorium with shows starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of and available at vagina-monologues-osu.brownpapertickets.com.

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