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Vagina Monologues for Bushwick: Neighborhood residents react to violence against women

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A new rendition of “The Vagina Monologues” is countering a spate of violence against women in Bushwick.

Multiple attacks against women by a man who pinned his victims against walls and covered their mouths so they couldn’t scream motivated neighborhood resident Meggie Schmidt to start a conversation — and bring that dialogue to the stage.

“It’s obviously terrifying and everyone wants to feel safe in their own neighborho­od,” Schmidt said. “But communication is critical on these issues. Women’s issues are inherently sensitive.”

Schmidt produced Eve Ensler’s iconic play four times as a student, but this time she cast only locals — even enlisting her mother — to ask the question, “What does it mean to be a woman in Bushwick right now?”

“I wanted it to be indicative of the community — not just of this hipster enclave,” said Schmidt. “I wanted longtime Bushwick residents to participate.”

“The Vagina Monologues” — a cornerstone in the movement against violence toward women — was a natural choice.

“ ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is a great outlet,” she said. “Even if you’re not using your own words, it’s still an opportunity to engage the material and speak out against [violence against women] and create a dialogue around it.”

The community has been quick to react to the violence: when that creepy sexual prowler had the neighborhood on edge, Brooklyn Bike Patrol swooped in to escort women home from the train.

In turn, Schmidt said the production aims to give back in a way that’s more than just talk: proceeds from the shows will go to the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, a Brooklyn Heights-based education and advocacy organization for young women all over the city.

“The Vagina Monologues” at Pine Box Rock Shop [12 Grattan St., between Morgan Avenue and Bogart Street in Bushwick, (718) 366–6311, www.pineboxrockshop.com]. April 4, 5, 9 pm, April 7, 4 pm, $15.

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