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Coastal Voices: On bringing ‘Monologues’ to Del Norte

Fifteen years ago, Eve Ensler, then a moderately successful New York playwright, opened the play she had been writing for two years, “The Vagina Monologues.”

Drawing on interviews she had done with more than 200 women, the resulting monologues — delivered, over the years, by actors including Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Oprah Winfrey — told of women’s experiences: sexuality, abuse, love and birth. This became a worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls called V-Day. For more information about V-Day go to vday.org.

The “Vagina Monologues” have always been dear to me. I have had the opportunity to see the monologues performed in Humboldt County. Several years ago, while working with the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, I had the honor of meeting Eve Ensler.  Eve is a vagina warrior! 

It has been my desire to help bring “The Vagina Monologues” to Del Norte County since 2004. My dear friend Chris Potter convinced me that we could do it. So, in October, I requested permission from Eve Ensler to hold the play here in Del Norte.

This play is 90 minutes of monologues that will be read by local women. These monologues are the accounts and memories of women who have had various experiences in their lives, some good and some not.

This play is not just a fundraiser, it is a voice for women. I have been working in the field, supporting women and girls who have experienced violence at the hands of others, since 1995. In this time, I have talked to girls and women who have been hurt in ways that most of us can’t wrap our minds around. I have been given the gift of being trusted with the accounts of their lives and this is my way of giving back to them.

Currently I co-facilitate a group for teen moms called, Teen Success. We currently have 14 members in our group. We are helping to empower these young mothers to speak up for themselves and their babies.

Teen Success began in December 2009. This is a Six Rivers Planned Parenthood program. SRPP partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services, which is where my co-facilitator, Teri Scott works.

One member of our group is celebrating her 100th meeting this week. I am so proud of these moms. They have enhanced their parenting skills as well as life skills. This program will be one of the four beneficiaries of the fundraiser; the others will be the Del Norte County programs of:  North Coast Rape Crisis Team, Smith River Rancheria Community and Family Services, Northern California Indian Development Council’s Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program.

Auditions for having a part in “The Vagina Monologues” will be Feb 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Feb 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. If you are interested in trying out, call 464-7072 and ask for Maxine or Kelley.

The play will be performed as follows with a third date to be announced:

• March 31, at College of the Redwoods. Tickets are on sale at CR campus for $10.

• April 7, at the Tolowa Event Center At Lucky 7 Casino. Tickets are on sale at Del Norte Office Supply for $10 per person.  

For more information, you can e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or friend me on facebook at Benita Cabrera vday.

Benita Cabrera is a Crescent City resident.

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