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Eve Ensler in Cairo

When an amateur theater group staged Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” last February at the American University in Cairo for three successive evenings, it attracted crowds and raised money for Egypt’s first battered woman shelter, Women’s news reports. But local women’s organizations said nothing, and kept away. Cast members also told the News reporter, Christopher Walker, that they feared reprisals from family or even police for participating in Ensler’s play, a diatribe against violence towards women that openly explores such topics as masturbation and rape. Still, one young woman told him, “It is important for us to do this because women in Egypt and in the Gulf area don’t ever speak of what they want.”