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Home | Resources | Auburn Blog | Sixteen Tools in Sixteen Days: A Multifaith Activist Tool-Kit Against Gender Violence
Sixteen Tools in Sixteen Days: A Multifaith Activist Tool-Kit Against Gender Violence
By Lisa Anderson
November 18, 2010
Scroll to see Auburn's 16-day toolkit--one resource for each day from 11/25-12/10--to commemorate the women in your faith community. We invite you to share your comments, including resources and insights from your own tradition or perspective.
Thursday, November 25th, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, this day marks the beginning of sixteen days of activism against gender violence across the globe. It will culminate in the observance of Human Rights Day on December 10, 2010.
As a U.S. born Christian religious leader, the proximity of this day to Thanksgiving and its overlap into the Advent season is not lost on me. In fact, I am challenged by where this global commemoration sits in relation the so-called ‘holiday season.’ Is my ability to combat gender injustice as fine tuned as my ability to observe the rites and rituals of the season?’ How does my faith inform my activism on behalf of the elimination of violence against women? And what are some of the faith-based and other resources I can rely on in this effort?
From November 25th to December 10th I will interrupt the usual pre-occupations of the season with a response to these questions. For sixteen days I will begin to build up a store-house of scriptural references, prayers, links, or other resources designed to equip religious leaders with some of the basic tools they need in order to make the elimination of violence against women a reality.
When I visit Web sites like STANDnow.org I am reminded of these facts. STAND is the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network. Their mission is to envision and work for a world in which the international community protects civilians from genocidal violence. STAND empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide.
December 7, 2010
Tell Me A Story: Women’s Experience as a Resource for Social Change explored the connection between women’s experiences of the divine and social justice. In particular the series focused on the role the rituals of religious life -- singing, praying and preaching -- play in transforming systems of injustice and oppression.
On this 12th day of activism for gender justice I offer one of the series three to the activist tool kit -- a reminder of the essential spiritual grounding our petitions, praises and intercessions provide for our social change work.
Merciful God, you hold us all in your loving arms, and see us all at once in the fullness of your being. Open us up to even a small measure of that expansive and embracing love. Help us to bridge the gaps of disconnection and unknowing that keep us apart and that block our vision of how richly and intimately interconnected we are with one another. Sometimes we look too high God, for a vision of that interconnectedness. Teach us to venture into the low and small places – recalling for us that it is always by You, and through You, and in You that the great good we long to effect in the world is born. Guide our feet Lord, in the work of love and justice, one small act at a time. Amen.
December 6 , 2010
Zainab’s work as the founder of Women to Women International made her an obvious choice and marks her as a key leader in the battle for gender justice. The mission of Women to Women International is to provide women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.
While the issues confronting women in situations of conflict and crisis require myriad approaches and solutions, according to Zainab, the attainment of true and lasting economic empowerment at all levels, is what binds all of the issues impacting women's lives together.
The religion page of Women’s eNews is especially noteworthy. Click here to explore the site.
Other Web sites worth adding to the favorites column on your toolbar -
Learn about the remarkable scholarship and activism of some of Auburn's 'favorite feminists.'
Rabbi Brous participated in the 2010 Auburn program, How Women Will Change the World in the 21st Century. She has also been featured as an Auburn Religious Leader of the week.
Eight days into the sixteen days of activism against gender violence reminds me that achieving gender justice is as much about celebrating what 2010 Lives of Commitment honoree, Nurah Amat’ullah described ‘the pleasure’ of being a [Muslim] woman, as it is about railing against the myriad ways in which that pleasure would go unnoticed by the world!
And so in that spirit here are but a few resources to infuse our passion for justice for women with the witness of women embracing beauty, wonder and goodness!
For women, global action in this direction translates into more deliberate efforts to combat the underlying abuses against the rights of women that have long made them an especially vulnerable population. A religious leader currently on the forefront of such efforts is Bishop Yvette Flunder.
A long-time activist for LGBT communities of color, Bishop Flunder is the founder of Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland and Restoration House in San Francisco. Both facilities are run through the Ark of Refuge, Inc., a non-profit agency which provides housing, direct services, education and training for persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area, throughout the USA and in three countries in Africa. Restoration House is a dual-diagnosis residential facility for African-American women and the first of its kind in San Francisco. Walker House serves persons in recovery and living with HIV in Oakland, CA. The Ark provides HIV/AIDS education and prevention services targeting the African American and African faith community.
The connections between ending violence against women and the implementation of just economic policy is an obvious one, but as the debates rage on in the US over extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest American’s while also ending unemployment benefits for the poor – the point cannot be made often enough.
According to UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), women make up 70% of the world’s poor. And ‘gender-based violence not only violates human rights, but also hampers productivity, reduces human capital and undermines economic growth.
In the face of such stark realities religious leaders from across the country, including Auburn’s president, the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson -- are taking a stand.
Hear honorees from the 2010 Lives of Commitment Breakfast reflect on Women, God and Money
Alisa Del Tufo is one such motivating woman. A social justice entrepreneur of long-standing, Alisa has changed the debate on family violence and other deep social challenges by shifting attention and resources to root causes. She is committed to the development of community engagement strategies, prevention and participant driven solutions rather than services and crisis intervention. As the founder of Threshold Collaborative she is helping others learn to solve their challenges by using these methods. Threshold’s mission is to build a more caring, just and engaged society. Using narrative, opinion gathering and civic engagement, Threshold seeks to enhance empathy and action, helping to make individuals and communities more peaceful, strong and healthy.
After founding Sanctuary for Families in 1983 she began using narrative and constituent focused, social change strategies in 1992. Del Tufo founded CONNECT (1993) to end family and gender violence by transforming the beliefs that fuel abusive behavior, and empowering those closest to the problem to come together to find solutions. CONNECT supports men and boys as well as women, and encourages self and community empowerment to break the cycle of violence. She has continued to refine and develop community engagement approaches to serious social challenges through Threshold Collaborative, which has addressed issues as diverse as school failure, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, economic disparity and child abuse.
Watch for Alisa’s contributions to Auburn’s ongoing work in the Women’s Multifaith Program in the coming months.November 30
PFP is a national organization devoted to ending domestic violence in Muslim families. Founded in 2000 by anti-violence pioneer, Sharifa Alkhateeb, (1946-2004), PFP facilitates awareness workshops for Muslim leaders and communities, provides cultural sensitivity trainings for professionals, conducts research, and develops a wide range of resources and tools usable within and outside of Muslim communities.
PFP offers many ways for individuals and communities to become involved in their work. One of the most exciting is their Take a Stand Video Campaign. Spearheaded by Sharifa’s daughter, photographer, author, and PFP co-director, Maha Alkhateeb, the campaign provides a platform for folks of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives within the Muslim community to ‘speak, sing, act and pray’ for an end to domestic violence.
November 27, 2010
World Pulse is a global media and communication network devoted to bringing women a global voice. Through broadcasts, blogs, citizen journalism, a magazine and numerous other action projects, World Pulse unites women's voices from around the world into a powerful force for social change. The Voices of Our Future Speaking and Media Tour highlights the citizen journalism of spokeswomen from the Philippines, Nepal and Bolivia.
November 26, 2010
I am inspired to share this film with the people closest to me during a time of ordinary celebration because one of the things that makes Pushing the Elephant so powerful is how seamlessly Rose’s commitment to end rape and repression in the Congo is woven into the life she now leads with her family in Arizona. ‘Activism demystified,’ is how I like to think of it.
Stay tuned for prayers and study questions about the film series developed for the Women’s Multifaith Program entitled Tell Me A Story.
November 25, 2010
In it Trible interrogates some of the most unsettling stories of female suffering in Hebrew and Christian scripture, recalling the stories of Hagar (Genesis 4:21-5:1), Tamar (Genesis 38), the Unnamed Woman in the book of Judges (Judges 19:1-30) and the story of Jephthath’s daughter (Judges11:1-12:7). Alongside of her piercing analysis Trible challenges readers to wrestle with the place such stories can and should occupy within our faith communities.
Written more than two decades ago her insights continue to enlighten and compel a new generation of theological thinkers and activists.
Phyllis Trible is Professor of Biblical Studies at Wake Forest University. In 2009 she was a part of the teaching team for Auburn’s first Seminarian Program on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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