JOHNSTOWN - In a continuing effort to raise awareness of domestic abuse, Fulton-Montgomery Community College hosted two showings of the "Vagina Monologues" on Saturday, along with a silent auction of items donated to support the cause.
The event was organized by Sonnet Gravina, a mathematics professor at the college, and the proceeds went to Montgomery County Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services and the Family Counseling Center's Domestic Violence Program in Fulton County.
Gravina said she was pleased with how the event was progressing Saturday afternoon.
Jean Karutis, foreground, performs with other cast members in a production of “The Vagina Monologues” on Saturday afternoon at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Theater. Two performances of the Eve Ensler play and an auction at the college on Saturday were conducted to benefit local domestic violence programs. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
"I have always wanted to do this production," she said after the matinee performance. "I used to live in Utah, and they wouldn't let me do it there. So I came here and asked [FM?theater arts professor] Jason Radalin if he would be interested, and he said he'd love to do it."
"The Vagina Monologues," by Tony Award-winning playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler, has been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries.
Gravina explained the play is intended to be shocking in a thought-provoking way, and its subject matter stimulates conversation about domestic violence and other issues.
"I think domestic violence is a very important but often overlooked cause," she said. "This helps to raise awareness and helps raise money for the [local efforts]."
Members of the Fulton County Domestic Violence Program hosted a table to inform the community about services available for victims of domestic violence.
Director Linda Horan said she knows events like the one at FM?have an impact, because the program gets more phone calls after each one.
"It is helpful to get the information out to the community," Horan said.
Victims of abuse who call the program are counseled about what course of action might be best for them. The program operates a shelter for women who need to remove themselves from abusive relationships.
"Each individual we would deal with differently, because each individual's problem is different," Horan said. "We make sure that we cover safety planning with them ... And if they don't want to stay [at our shelter] anymore, we make sure they have a safety plan in place."