Vagina Pride

by ursavoice

Lisa Petak
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. For a young girl growing up in America, the odds that she will be a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault are nearly 1 in 5. The chances are 1 in 4 that she will be the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, that she will suffer at hands of someone she thought she could trust—someone who never has the right to express anger with fists instead of words (all statistics are from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010 Report)).

As soon-to-be attorneys, we have the unique privilege and burden of being able to do something about these crimes. We can help someone get a restraining order against an abusive partner and start a new life. We can fight as prosecutors to put rapists behind bars. We can find nuanced ways to make the law work in these victims’ favor, and not keep them beaten and silenced.

At UCI Law, we are privileged to have the support of a committed and civically minded faculty and administration, a group of scholars who wants us to “create the ideal law school” and shape our own education. And with The Vagina Monologues, we stand up and say: we want to use our education to raise awareness about crimes that are too often committed but rarely reported; we want to be advocates for those who have been silenced and who need a voice; we want to be tools for change. We want a world without gender violence.

The money from the show goes to support our own Family Violence Clinic and to educate the next generation of lawyers in the fight against intimate partner violence. Not only are raising awareness; we’re giving back to our community and offering services that far too many men and women need.

On behalf of the entire cast and crew, I hope you’ll join us for this year’s performances on February 15th and 16th. For those of you with the privilege of seeing this show for the first time, I’ll warn you now that you may be a bit shocked. You may tear up or squirm in your seat, and you will definitely laugh. Good. That’s what the show is meant for. But I hope you’ll also remember that the show is a call to action, and that standing up for a loved one, accepting differences, donating a few dollars to a charity, or proudly “reclaiming cunt” are simple but powerful ways to fight against sexual inequality.

With Vagina Pride,
Lisa Petak