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Look To The Stars’ Lead Host Michelle Vink attended the annual V-Day event – a global movement to stop violence against women and girls – in Santa Monica last week and filed this report.

Imagine having your life or the life of a family member threatened simply for crying for help against unspeakable violent sexual crimes violated against you. This is what so many of the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo are going though today. This year for V-Day, the monumental performance of The Vagina Monologues had a new monologue written by the original playwright, Eve Ensler, that was inspired by her personal awareness of the situation of the women in the Congo.

For those of you that don’t know, this V-Day is a different kind of Valentine’s Day. Every year between Feb 1st and March 31st, thousands of performances across the world are set in motion to raise funds and awareness as part of “A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women & Girls.” Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and Kerry Washington are just a few of the powerful Hollywood forces that are all members of the V-Board.

The Vagina Monologues – originally performed by Ensler (also adoptive mother of Dylan McDermott) – now has had celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Oprah Winfrey and more all star in the Obie Award winning play. It has also been translated into 45 different languages, performed in over 119 countries, become a television production, book and is now the benefit performance for this global non-profit that has raised over $50 million dollars for women’s anti-violence groups, shelters and crisis centers.

Proceeds from this particular Santa Monica event benefit Peace Over Violence (for which Calista Flockhart is the national spokesperson) as well as the V-Day Global Fund. Calista was not only representing her cause this night but also actively involved as one of the actresses in this sensational celebrity reading. Among the star-studded cast were Oscar-winner Christine Lahti, Emmy-winner Doris Roberts, Penny Johnson Jerald from 24, Fairuza Balk, comedian Debra Skelton (formerly known as Debra Wilson), Tricia Leigh Fischer of 7th Heaven, and author/actress Elaine Kagan. The cast also features Zoi Katas, theater artist D’Lo, and V-Day Santa Monica producers Wendy Hammers and Deborah Kagan. Veteran actress Iona Morris directed The Broad Stage production.

“I believe all women should enjoy their lives as their full, authentic selves,” states V-Day Santa Monica producer and Sacred Interiors owner Deborah Kagan. "This means celebrating your body, your sexuality, and your prowess. For many victimized women, the by-product of sexual abuse and domestic violence is a disassociation from their own bodies. They don’t feel safe in their own skin.

“I’ve been a fan of Eve Ensler since 1998 when I saw The Vagina Monologues at the Wiltern and I followed her career. When I heard about V to the 10th last year, I had to go. I found myself standing in the New Orleans Superdome with 30,000 people completely inspired and I knew it was time to do something. It was time for a VDAY Santa Monica.”

For more information about V-Day and how to donate or get involved, visit here. V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops…. 94 cents of every dollar you give goes straight to ending violence against women and girls.

For more information on Peace over Violence, click here. Formerly known as the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, Peace Over Violence is a social service agency dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence. Now expanding into the prevention of youth violence and child abuse among other programs.

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