To help kick off a national public-affairs campaign to fight violence against women, Lifetime Television has asked its constituents to send valentines to Congress.
The preprinted postcards ask legislators to support anti-violence efforts through increased funding and early education programs, said Lifetime senior vice president of public affairs Meredith Wagner.
"This is an issue that has huge resonance among our viewers," said Wagner, who added that one of every three women experiences a physical assault by a partner at least once in her lifetime. "That's a statistic you can't turn your head away from."
Lifetime plans to unveil its anti-violence initiative Wednesday (Feb. 14) at a Washington press conference.
The network distributed some of the politically motivated valentines to women at "V-Day 2001," a special benefit performance last Saturday (Feb. 10). The roster of performers at the event (co-sponsored by Lifetime) included Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Close, Rosie Perez, Jane Fonda, Calista Flockhart and Marlo Thomas, who were expected to appear in a live performance of playwright Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues
at Madison Square Garden.
Proceeds will go to the V-Day Fund, which offers financial support to groups that fight violence against women in the U.S. and abroad.
Other V-Day sponsors included Hearst Magazines (a Lifetime corporate cousin), Marie Claire, Liz Claiborne and women.com. Video clips featuring interviews with some of the performers will be posted following the event at www.lifetime.com.
In addition to its V-Day participation, Lifetime plans to highlight original programs that deal with the issue, including several episodes of its new series The Division. The network will provide viewer resources at the end of each episode, such as the phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Lifetime will also produce several public-service announcements to educate viewers about the topic.