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Until The Violence Stops! August 18 - September 1, 2007 Women Artists Speak Out, Act Out, Sing Out Against Violence

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Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women on the job. Someone is raped in the United States every 2 minutes. Nearly 1/3 of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some time. (www.safehorizon.com )

Statistics like these inspired U.S. playwright and performer Eve Ensler to action. Her award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, based on interviews with more than 200 women, celebrates women's' sexuality and strength but also puts a spotlight on the many forms of violence against women that happen around the world every day. The Vagina Monologues is a living example of the extraordinary power of feminist art to inspire positive social change.

Ensler's experience performing The Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, As explained on the website, V-Day's mission is simple. It demands that the violence must end. It proclaims Valentine's Day as V-Day until the violence stops.

Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with more than half still being left unreported. Young females are Four times more likely than any other group to be the victims of sexual assault. Nationally, rape is the most under-reported crime.

In 2006, Ensler pioneered UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS in New York City. As V-Day organizers explain, UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC took over New York City, putting women, their empowerment and safety directly on center stage. The Festival featured marquee events with performances by celebrated actors and original works by noted authors, community events throughout New York City, a citywide messaging campaign, a run through Prospect Park, a workshop for men and boys, and much more. The festival issued this call to action to all New Yorkers, and to the world: Demand an end to violence against women and girls and become an active participant in ending it.

Yet the violence continues: Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey.

So artists and activists inspired by Eve Ensler continue to speak out, too! Beginning August 18, 2007, UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: KENTUCKY will take over the state, putting women and girls, their empowerment and safety directly on center stage. The Festival issues a call to action to all Kentuckians through theater, visual art, spoken word, performances and community events: Seventeen cities in Kentucky are holding over 60 events demanding an end to violence against. women.

You can find out more about what is happening in Kentucky by checking out these two websites: http://www.utvsky.org/ and http://www.moreheadstate.edu/utvs/

No matter where you live, you can join in the demand to end violence against women and girls and become an active partner until the violence stops.

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