Stars Shed Light on Violence

In the true spirit of Valentine’s Day, 75 stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Rita Wilson, Calista Flockhart, Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Joan Osbourne and Queen Latifah, participated in a very special reading of the Eve Ensler play “The Vagina Monologues” this weekend at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The purpose of the gathering, called “VDay 2001: Take Back The Garden,” was to end violence against women both domestically and internationally, using the words of Ensler as well as those of women who’ve actually lived through some real-life atrocities. Jane Fonda, 63, who performed a monologue titled “I Was There in the Room,” told PEOPLE: “I work with girls whose lives have been harmed because of violence, sexual abuse, rape, incest. I’ve traveled the world to China, Russia, Africa, India, Egypt, and I’ve seen extreme brutality to women in those countries, and I know that we have to start talking about it and making women globally aware of what’s happening so we can stand up and stop it.” Glenn Close, 53, felt that the event brought awareness of the topic to a whole new level. “The fact that we had the women from Kenya and the woman from Afghanistan — I’ve been told we can not say her name, she can’t go back to her country — I mean, that beautiful girl, who has the incredible (nerve) to stand up against a regime that beats up women if they have white socks on and cuts off their hands if they slip from underneath that (cloak).” Pointing out that the event helped women identify the true enemy, Close said, “It’s not just men against women . . . It’s about people who are a community on this planet who want the violence to stop.”

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