Eve Ensler delivered an Inaugural Mahmoud Fathalla Lecture at the FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Vancouver, Canada on Monday 5 October 2015.
Eve Ensler is the Tony Award winning playwright, activist and author of the theatrical phenomenon 'The Vagina Monologues' which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.
She is founder of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls which has raised over $100 million to end violence, and of One Billion Rising, a global mass action campaign in over 200 countries. She is the author of many plays and best-selling books, including her critically acclaimed memoir 'In the Body of the World', which will be debuted and performed in spring 2016 at the American Repertory Theater.
Here is the short Q&A session with the Author:
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues in women’s health and sexuality right now?
A: We still, unfortunately, live in a climate where we’re not open about sexuality and don’t have easy or honest dialogue around it. So first I would say we need to have cleaner, more open channels of communication, which means getting rid of this prejudice that women don’t have desire and a sexual appetite. The second piece is that if the statistics are accurate — that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime — then we need to really bring the impacts of trauma into the discussion of sexuality and health. They are still sidelined at best.
Q: What will you be talking about this morning?
A: I will be sharing my journey through cancer. I will share what made me better in my medical experience and what weakened me. I will share how the body, like the earth, is a holistic organism, and how when we treat parts of it as if they were separate from the heart or the brain, which holds memory — or even if we treat the body as a body and not the holder of trauma and pain — we put obstacles in the path of healing, and sometimes actually make the patient worse. I’m also going to be talking about the importance of how we frame things, and what it would mean to have a medicine of love.
Q: If your audience comes away with just one key message today, what would you like it to be?
A: I’d like people to think about how and why the medical process sets up this dynamic of being so mechanistic, objective and distanced, and why that is. This is important to explore because our spirits and emotions play such an equal part in recovery. The body is a holistic universe. That means anything from how a catheter enters us to the tone of a nurse’s voice impacts a patient’s care.
Eve Ensler’s presentation focused on her memoir, 'In the Body of the World', described by the New York Times Book Review as 'unforgettable … A story of stark, inspiring, often confrontational honesty.'