V-Day SDSU strives to bring awareness and open arms to victims of abuse

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Courtesy of Vday SDSU

The poster for SDSU Vday’s virtual event show. It will be virtual and live-streamed to an audience.

by Cristina Lombardo, Staff Writer

For speech, language, and hearing sciences junior, Lacie McArdle, it was just another day scrolling through Instagram, though this time an opportunity presented itself. McArdle was given the chance to submit one of her writings to a V-Day San Diego State, a nonprofit on campus that is working to end violence against women. 

“(V-Day) told me that they would be selecting certain pieces to be used in a performing arts show,” McArdle said. “I heard back and they said they were using the piece I wrote and I was super excited.”

V-Day at SDSU is part of a larger global movement organization that strives to end violence against all women while raising awareness through production showcasing intersectional feminism and everyday struggles that women go through around the globe.

“As a chapter of the international organization, our goal as V-Day SDSU is to raise money each year for a local beneficiary that provides assistance to survivors of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and other women-centered programs,” Janelle Miller said, director of the V-Day’s production. 

Vday was founded after Vday writer (formerly Eve Ansler) wrote a series of acts that brought up the social stigma of being a woman in modern-day society. This has turned into multiple different interpretations, and conversations welcomed throughout campus and those struggling in the community. 

More than ever, the importance of bringing awareness to domestic violence has raised tremendously. 

Last year in San Diego there were over 8,495 domestic violence incidents reported, according to the San Diego Association of Governments

COVID-19 has altered our everyday lives. With stay-at-home orders, quarantines and restrictions being used to stop the spread of the pandemic, it could be the blame for the rise in domestic violence cases. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, staying at home or being isolated from other people can leave people more vulnerable to domestic violence. 

“Statistically speaking 1 in 3 adolescents reports verbal, emotional, physical and sexual beating abuse each year,” Sarah Diamond, the lead prevention and community engagement specialist at San Diego Community Center for Solutions, said.

Quarantine and lockdowns are associated with alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms which can cause more harm than good for domestic violence victims. 

According to NBC 7 in 2020, there were 7,700 restraining orders filed in San Diego county. A 4% increase from the year prior. 

Unfortunately, some victims aren’t granted a restraining order against their abusers. 

“We have seen an increase overall, since March of last year, that our calls to our hotline have gone up 64%,” Diamond said. 

There are plenty of resources available for those who decide to seek help. The National Domestic Violence Hotlines, the Community Center of Solutions hotline, and closer to campus, the V-Day organization. 

V-Day welcomes those who are struggling with open arms and is more than just a production. It’s a safe place for a community. 

Touching on important subjects with the main overall message being, that you are loved, there are people who welcome you to their community. As well as educating those who aren’t aware of the overall struggle that victims of abuse go through on a daily basis through the pieces they highlight. 

“My piece that is going to be performed is titled, ‘One in three girls’ It’s addressing sexual abuse, and is a pretty heavy piece,” McArdle said.  “Anyone, of any population who has experienced this, I would say, I believe you. This wasn’t your fault and it does not define you. You are loved and strong.”Even throughout a pandemic, the message is still the same. To provide an experience for those simply wanting to educate themselves further or those who have struggled through abuse. It’s about sharing stories of those in the community and donating money to beneficiaries that have direct contact with survivors. 

Given that things are a bit different from the ongoing pandemic, the production had more opportunities to be creative. 

“This is also the first year we have chosen to do a completely student written show and the first year a faculty member is a part of the cast Katie Turner the academic advisor for theater,” Miller said.  “I think covid/being virtual has helped us simply because it forced us to try new things and get rid of old habits that were no longer serving us.”

This year the show will be virtual and prerecorded live-streamed to an audience on March 6. through March 7. V-Day is open to anyone who would like to join the conversation, to find more information and tickets for the upcoming shows, visit SDSU’s V-Day webpage.

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