Best recognized as author of "The Vagina Monologues," Eve Ensler is also an internationally known activist and the founder of V-Day (vday.org), "a global movement to end violence against women and girls."
Her heart is in the Congo, with the women brutalized beyond measure, "women with missing limbs and reproductive organs, women with machete lashes across their faces and arms and legs ... women carrying babies the color of their rapists, women who smelled like urine and feces because they had fistulas--holes between their vaginas and bladder and rectum--and now they were leaking, leaking."
Ensler's childhood was also a story of bodily abuse. "I grew up not in a home but in a kind of free fall of anger and violence that led to a life of constant movement." A father's incest, a mother's emotional distance. Ensler "drank myself mad, numbed myself with drugs at sixteen, snuck out with grown men to the Fillmore East for the late show, lived naked on communes, and stole things."
Years passed. Then, "on March 17, 2010, they discovered a huge tumor in my uterus. Cancer threw me through the window of my disassociation into the center of my body's crisis. The Congo threw me deep into the crisis of the world, and these two experiences merged as I faced the disease and what I felt was the beginning of the end."
Ensler's harrowing story--in-your-face blunt--is told in "In The Body Of The World" ($25 in hardcover from Metropolitan Books; also available in Amazon Kindle e-book format, and as an audiobook read by the author).
Ensler is scheduled to speak at Chico State University's Laxson Auditorium this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Premium tickets are $40, adults $35, seniors $33, students $20, available at the University Box Office, (530) 898-6333 or online at http://bit.ly/14FaSXp.
The story of her treatment, the effects of chemo, the doctors, nurses, friends and family and people in the Congo gripped by her pain, the death of her mother, and how she became a survivor, is a searing account that is impossible to put down. The story, ultimately, is "about showing up and not forgetting, about keeping promises, about giving everything and losing everything." It is love, "endless and generous and enveloping."