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Twenty-One Women. ONE VOICE! Fighting Gender Based Violence in Bangkok

Being beyond the birthplace, one of the things I have come to appreciate, is that when people share a common goal, and are passionate about making an impact, nothing will hold them back. Not nationality, nor age, colour, creed or whatever else you may think of. They will rise above the challenges to serve a cause much greater than themselves. I have seen a lot of this even online. In most cases, people of a certain community will come together in support of an affected member of their community. Be it to help raise funds for a major medical operation or assist with a funeral and repatriation expenses of a fellow countryman. It’s even more intriguing when expats come together and establish a volunteer organisation which supports locals. Case in point, Bangkok Rising.

With an active membership of about 30 individuals; Bangkok Rising is a multinational, multicultural volunteer organisation based in Thailand. Their mission is to raise awareness for the need for gender equality and the eradication of gender-based violence. Bangkok Rising supports Thailand based organisations which assist in the rehabilitation of gender-based violence survivors. Throughout each year, the charity collaborates and hosts various events commemorating the girl-child, celebrating women, campaigning against gender-based violence and the marginalisation of at risk populations. Most popular of their events are flash mobs, and their production of the Vagina Monologues or other theater performances which the organisation stages every February or March.

This year I was lucky to be available to attend and capture Bangkok Rising’s production of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. With a cast of twenty-one women (ten nationalities, four continents) the sold-out show entertained the audience with emotive performances. It was a cocktail of laughter, a few sniffles, deathly silence, and blushes. The artistry educated the audience about the experiences of women who have been victims of rape, sexual assault, bullying, segregation, and shaming. Some of whom have suffered confusion and frustration because the very essence of who they are, their vaginas, could not be spoken about, not even in the comfort of their own homes. Reduced to that obscene place which shall be named anything but what it really is, making it seemingly shameful to carry one. It’s where it all begins, but shame on you for calling it out loud, let alone know anything about it. Quite a mystery.

Watch this trailer to hear how some members of Bangkok Rising will #pressforprogress

Asked what he thought of the show, one member of the audience said, “it actually never occurred to me how difficult it is for a woman to look at her vagina”. How so very true. Thanks to the show, even I have finally become more comfortable with learning about my vagina and embracing my sexuality. I mean I grew up in a culture where sexuality (in reference to women) is hardly a word. The only word is sex, which is spoken about in a no sex before marriage, no fornication, no…, no…., no context. So, the vagina really was this thing that is a burden to carry because if I pay any amount of attention to it, it will cause me to sin and go to hell. If I was none the wiser, I would fall victim to @renoomokri and his tweet which likens vaginas to fish steaks! Power to the smart women calling him out. Sadly, there will be some who buy his sell. Because vagina=sex=taboo is miseducation.

So, I’m here to say: GIRL/LADY/WOMAN; You have a vagina, get to know it, own it, love it, take care of it!

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