At this year's "The Vagina Monologues," 40 of Bowdoin's own women will bring humorous, traumatic, and silenced sexual experiences into the open.

"There's a power in the show and the V-Day movement," said Alex Lamb '07, one of this year's directors. "Forty women's voices being heard is a really moving thing."

Those voices fill Kresge Auditorium again February 23 through 25 at 7 p.m., providing a safe and thoughtful environment to talk about sexual violence.

All four directors?Lamb, Gwenn Hollingworth '06, Whitney Hogan '07, and Emily Skinner '08?emphasized that "Monologues" provides a positive venue for women to hear and speak about sexual issues that face women, especially at a small college like Bowdoin.

"There are members of our community who are real survivors of sexual violence, which is something we're focusing on this year," said Hogan. "The show is real and hopeful and speaks the truth about things that are rarely spoken about."

Though much of the show deals with the heavy issues of violence against women, there are also elements of hope, inspiration, and humor. Hollingworth, who has participated in the show every year she has been at Bowdoin, said that her favorite part of the show is bringing all the women together.

"I feel like I'm a part of something, supporting an organization in the local community when we're in a bubble most of the time," she said.

When the directors asked the women in "Monologues" to sum up how they felt about the show and their performances, they all used phrases like "empowered," "a part of something," "powerful," and "inspired." Hogan also emphasized universality behind "Monologues."

"These could be any of our stories," she said. Lamb included how every member of the Bowdoin community is affected by sexual violence. "At the end of the show, when we ask people to stand up if they know someone affected by sexual violence, all 280 are standing."

For Skinner, the most important part of "Monologues" comes through the safe and positive environment.

"It's so important to give women the opportunity to hear and speak more about this and become more comfortable," she said. "You find that people are more willing to speak up, even if it just is to say something like, 'I love sex.'"

The program is not just about traumatic sexual experiences, but also about being positive and open about sex.

"It's about how fundamentally good or bad sexual experiences affect not only the body, but the person as a whole," Hollingworth said.

The directors also discussed V-Day's Global Spotlight for this year, which focuses on the "Comfort Women," women forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Most of these women who are still alive are outraged by the current Japanese government's positions regarding this part of the country's history.

Hannah Harwood '08, one of the performers of the Comfort Women monologue, said that she didn't see these women as "angry or bitter, but I see these women as strong and standing up for something in their lives."

Because there were so many women involved in this tragedy, Harwood said it was difficult to make all the voices cohesive, but the power of their stories came through.

"There are a lot of voices, but uniform solidarity," she said. "All they want is to hear someone just say sorry."

Lamb summed up the different voices of "Monologues" by saying, "The show is about loving each other and loving yourself."

V-Day will be showing the organization's video in the pub and talking more about the group on Monday night. It invites the whole campus to take part in the discussion.