ICF held Two Sessions of Thematic Workshop on the Intersection of Religion, Gender, and Human Rights

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Last Updated (Monday, 07 December 2020 15:24)

ICF held the first two out of four sessions of the Virtual Thematic Seminar-Workshops on the Intersection of Religion, Gender, and Human Rights on November 19 and November 26, 2020, with over 30 participants from more than eight countries.

↑  Participants of the Virtual Thematic Workshop on Nov 19, 2020 ↑  Participants of the Virtual Thematic Workshop on Nov 26, 2020

The four workshops are in line with the 16-Day of activism against gender-based violence, which started on November 25th. ICF organized all workshops on Thursdays to promote and participate in the campaign by UN’s World Council of Churches’ #ThursdaysinBlack. WCC calls on women and men to wear black on Thursdays to indicate one’s commitment to be part of the global movement in “resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence, and to “show respect for women who are resilient in the face of injustice and violence.”

For the first session on Religion, Femicide, and Various Forms of Sexual Abuse, ICF was very happy to have Dr. Liza Lamis, the Executive Secretary of the International Fellowship of the Least Coin, and Ms. Mercy Kappen, the Executive Director Vishtar Academy of Justice and Peace in Bangalore India, as speakers. Both gave powerful and insightful presentations. Dr. Liza Lamis focused on the harmful interpretation of the Bible that results in violence against women. She also presented Christianity’s long tradition with ancient famous thinkers promoting harmful practices. She further challenged the participants to look into their own sacred texts and identify connections between the harmful practices towards women and the interpretation of sacred texts. Following Dr. Lamis, Ms. Mercy Kappen gave an insightful talk by first providing a comprehensive definition of violence against women as well as devastating current statistics. She further explained common practices of victim-blaming and debunked myths and beliefs around these practices. She further pointed out the importance of intersectionality to tackle the issue of violence against women in its complexity.

↑  Dr. Liza Lamis ↑  Ms. Mercy Kappen ↑ Dr. Sharon Bong ↑  Dr. Al Fuertes

The second session was held on November 26, 2020, about Religion and LGBT Communities: “Is God’s Love Exclusive for the Straight People?” ICF was very pleased to welcome Dr. Sharon Bong, an Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Monash University-Malaysia, and Dr. Al Fuertes, an Associate Professor at George Mason University in Virginia, USA, specializing in psycho-social trauma healing as an important component of conflict transformation. Dr. Sharon Bong gave a very insightful presentation starting with a brainstorming exercise for all participants on what sexuality is, and then moved towards sexual ethics theory. She explained what our societies and religions perceive and deem as normal and what the actual reality and diversity of gender identities and sexual orientation look like. Following Dr. Bong’s inspiring presentation, Dr. Al Fuertes gave a very powerful personal account about growing up gay in a religious community and finding the courage of coming out of the closet years later through a devastating personal loss. A fruitful discussion with both our resource persons followed their presentations.

We, at ICF, are very thankful for all our speakers who accepted our invitations and thereby made this series of workshops possible. We are also happy to have so many young people attend and further engage with the session topics by writing reflections and joining every Tuesday in an open zoom space for further discussion and reflection.

~ Annika Denkmann, BftW Seconded Personnel to ICF