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Eve Ensler

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Eve Ensler, playwright, performer, and activist, is the award-winning author of "The Vagina Monologues", which has been translated into 45 languages and performed in more than 112 countries. Ensler ’s other plays include Necessary Targets, Conviction, Lemonade, The Depot, Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man, Extraordinary Measures, The Good Body, and The Treatment. She is the founder and artistic director of V-Day — a global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $440 million in eight years — and has recently released two books, Insecure At Last and A Memory, Monologue, Rant, and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls. www.vday.org

Women are not some marginalized, insignificant group – we are the majority of citizens. What happens to us determines everything.

The second highest rate of rape in the world is in the US Army system.

We have reclaimed our stories and our voice but we have not yet unraveled or deconstructed the inherent cultural underpinnings and causes of violence. We have not yet demonstrated the mindset that somewhere in every single culture is permission for violence, expect violence, wait for violence, and instigate violence. We have not yet stopped teaching boys to deny being afraid, doubtful, needy, sorrowful, vulnerable, open, tender and compassionate.

We have not yet elected leaders or become leaders who refuse violence as a possible intervention, who make ending violence the center of everything. We have not yet elected or become leaders who understand that you cannot say that you believe in women and children, and then support bombing Iraq. Exactly whose children do you believe in protecting?

We have not yet made violence against women abnormal, extraordinary, unacceptable, we have not yet come to see it as a pathological issue.

Women are the greatest resource of the planet. You destroy trees and forests, ocean and sky – it is the same story.

If we are to end violence against women, the whole story has to change.

The only point of having power it seems to me is to empower others. The only point of leadership is to inspire.

Unfortunately I think we have now come to identify women and power not as the radicalization of the mechanism and definition of power, but instead women climbing to the top of the current patriarchy and bureaucratic hierarchy at any cost.

The question is how can women who have been funded by the same corporate interest and money, by the same system of exclusion and corruption, by the same system, think for one moment it would be any different in that position.

If you accept the argument which I hear lately that they make about Senator Clinton all the time, that she needs to say what she is saying, to do what she is doing, in order to get into office, I would argue she’s already in office, and she now has a record that reflects who she is. But secondly I would argue, that how you travel impacts where you are going, and how you behave matters every step of the way.

Do I hold women to a higher standard? No. I am holding them to a different standard, a different structure all together.

In my early days of feminism, I did not imagine a world of Condi Rices. Women who are so cut off from their own ability to feel what another person feels, their own to empathize…

I had a different vision, which was women becoming leaders who understood that empathy was as primary and essential and intellect, who knew that authenticity and strategy were only effective as a team.

I really don’t care if more women are in power – that in itself means nothing to me. I care if more women who are fighting for people over profit are in power.

I care if more women are in power who say that nuclear weapons are never, ever an option, and they should be taking off not only any negotiating table, but they should be made absolete all together.

I want women to be in it to end poverty, to rethink racism, to stop global warming, to make parenting and sexuality and education and health care priorities, rather than being in it to win.

Peace happens in touch, in pleasure, in feeling, in beauty and in nature. We are creating the other way have to stop minimizing it or doubting or allowing it to be co-opted.

I am waiting for a woman to run as a woman, to remain a woman, to usher in the values of women.

I believe that women can and will manifest the new kind of power.

I am always afraid, I am never afraid.

Interview with Eve Ensler

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