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V-Day Romania

V-Day is a movement to stop violence against women and girls. Observed on or near February 14th, Valentine's Day, it is an occasion on which theatrical and artistic events are presented in 1,000 cities around the world to raise money and increase awareness about domestic violence. In 2002, JSI and partner East European Institute for Reproductive Health (EEIRH) began organizing the V-Day Romania National Campaigns. The campaign took place in five major cities (Targu-Mures, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Constanta, Timisoara), and consisted of various events organized in collaboration with local partners.

Selecting the best anti-violence statement at the "These hands don't hurt you!" event.Seminars, conferences, exhibitions of photographs and decorative objects were featured during the campaign, and information materials were widely distributed. Various slogans prompted innovative activities in different cities. Beneath the slogan "Don't Hit ... Give!," red flowers with non-violent message tags were distributed to men. Below "These Hands Don't Hurt You!," participants in different locations (local administration institutions, court, schools, press club, bars, etc.), traced the shape of their hands on a sheet of paper and wrote an anti-violence message inside. Under the slogan "Clothes on the Drying Line," anti-violence messages were hung in streets. A painting contest on the topic of "Violence and New Generation" was organized at an arts high school.

The highlight of the first V-Day Romania was a production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," which presented exclusively in Romania by EEIRH/JSI in an exquisite staging. Proceeds from ticket sales were used to continue efforts to end violence against women. Audience response to "The Vagina Monologues" was enthusiastic, reflected in the anonymous quotes of some of those exiting the theater. "I liked the show, and I found myself in one monologue," "I am impressed by your courage, because I feel that the public is not ready for this (subject matter). But these are important issues and deserve attention," and "After this show, I rediscovered my wife."

V-Day Romania received extensive media coverage, with numerous newspaper articles, TV, and radio broadcasts. Policy makers and leading public personalities from social and artistic circles attended campaign events and expressed support of its goals. A national 'Stop Rape' contest was held with the support of Cosmopolitan magazine. Contestants wrote action plans to stop rape in their communities by making the public more sensitive to violence against women. Actress Daniela Nane, interviewed in Cosmopolitan, said, "The event is welcome. It was long awaited by us, because it is a worldwide event. I am happy to be here and see that so many public figures have responded to this call. We are here to help women who suffered sexual aggression."

Carmen Moldovan, a member of Parliament and one of the initiators of a domestic violence law, awarded the prize to the winner of the 'Stop Rape' contest. She was quoted in the newspaper Ziua, which covered the event. "My role as a politician is to demonstrate support against violence to women." Through theatrical events, educational materials, exhibitions, seminars, public debates, contests, press conferences, TV and radio broadcasts, newspaper articles, and flowers with simple messages attached, the V-Day Romania National Campaign brought domestic violence out of the shadows, into the spotlight, and onto the national agenda.

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