A sunny day in the idyllic town of Ohrid, Macedonia. I have an appointment with Gordana Angelichin, a 22-years-old student, who set up V-day Macedonia, together with Sandra Kostadinova and Aleksandra Simoska, young students. The three girls successfully started to spread a message of anti-violence throughout the country.
V-Day is a worldwide movement which aims at raising awareness about violence against women. As they state themselves: “The `V` in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.”. They strive for a world where women live safely and freely. Everything started in 1994 with a play called The Vagina Monologues written by Eve Ensler, the later founder of V-Day. Since then, the play has been performed all around the world and V-Day allows groups to screen their version once a year in February, March and April. The money that is raised by these screenings is used for local projects and programs that aim to end violence against women. With their activities, V-Day wants to create dialogue and shatter taboos around violence against women and girls.
What were your motives to set up such a campaign?
Aleksandra and I went together to the University of Winconsin. V-Day is an annual widespread event in the States and a group of students were organizing on-campus activities. We we didn’t know about any similar initiative in Macedonia, but we knew how our society works and that a lot of women and girls become victims of physical and psychological violence. Each day we see how boys threat their girlfriends in a bad way. This comes forth out of the common mentality and that it will take time and effort to change this, but at least we can give it a try.
Did people in Macedonia understand these aims?
Some of them surely did, but we had some problems at first. When we contacted the National Crisis Center, they considered us too young and unexperienced to realize anything. Then, we easily got our motivation back when we saw how many young girls were interested to help us. Mainly, the older generations were not too happy with us. I think they want to take the credits for themselves but in the same way they do not strongly believe in the message we want to spread and, therefore, did not manage to successfully organize something related to this issue.