The chocolate vaginae being sold at Downer this week and next are pretty attention-getting – which is fitting, since their purpose is to draw attention to a larger issue: domestic and sexual abuse. The unusual treats are a fundraiser for Lawrence’s V-Day group, part of a worldwide movement most commonly known for productions of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” V-Day is a movement conceived by Ensler to raise awareness about domestic and sexual abuse, particularly as directed toward women and girls. “The Vagina Monologues” was the starting point for the V-Day movement. According to junior Brianne Mueller, the director of Lawrence’s production of “Monologues,” the show has opened many doors of communication that had not previously been opened. “Shocked by the numbers of women who had never spoken out about their experiences before this moment,” said Mueller, “Eve set out to break the silence of women worldwide by creating V-Day to raise people’s awareness about these tragic instances of violence and suffering.” The movement has led to numerous performances of “The Vagina Monologues” – 800 in 2002 alone – and many other awareness events. Lawrence’s V-Day group also sponsors programs such as “Love Your Body Day” and “Take Back the Night,” and its members often volunteer at both the local Sexual Assault Crisis Center and Harbor House. The most visible event is still their annual production of “The Vagina Monologues.” The monologues are all based on real women’s experiences. “Eve interviewed over 200 women and compiled their stories into the production as it is seen today,” said Mueller. The show deals with a wide variety of issues relating to sexuality. Some are amusing, while some can be deeply troubling. Ensler has added new monologues over the years, including a new one from 2005 which addresses transgender and transsexual issues of gender identity and, as Mueller puts it, “what it means to be a ‘woman.'” The main goals of “The Vagina Monologues,” and of V-Day in general, are to raise awareness of issues of violence and to help women get comfortable with their sexuality. “Violence against women and girls is a huge problem in the U.S. and around the world,” said Mueller. “Until we address this topic directly and the social issues surrounding it, women and girls will continue to be needlessly mutilated, raped and murdered.” One critical way to address the issue is to encourage women to speak out. “No one should ever remain imprisoned in silence about what has happened to them,” Mueller said. The show strives not only to help women talk about more scarring aspects of their sexuality, but simply their sexuality in general. “The message is that all women should be able to love and learn to appreciate their vaginas and bodies. Sexuality should be enjoyable and not shameful,” said Mueller. Mueller also pointed out that the show is not about saying men are bad. “It is saying ‘life is beautiful and we should be able to enjoy and cherish it,'” she said. Proceeds from the Lawrence production will go to the Sexual Assault and Crisis Center in Appleton, the national organization Men Can Stop Rape, and the Kiota Women Health and Development Organization in Tanzania. The show reportedly pulls in $2,000 per year for the cause. This year’s production will be Feb. 25 at 3p.m. and 8 p.m., and Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and donations are greatly appreciated.