Webinar 2 Dec-Femicide

Image: WCC

How can we live with, how can we allow the rise in femicides that continues as a shadow pandemic” amid COVID-19?

Valeria Cristina VIlhena—from the Uniting Protestant Women for Life, Peace and Justice—spoke of the rising rate of rapes in Latin America. We should face it with our spirituality, with our Christian spirituality,” she said. As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic just amplified all the rapes that were already cruel before.”

Dr Imani Tafari-Ama, gender and development specialist at the University of West Indies, shared case studies of women who have been killed by police officers who are also their husbands and partners. Police officers in these case studies are all trained to kill people who are deemed a threat, a perception that they transferred into their private lives,” she said. This of course puts women and children at great risk. The murder suicide pattern shows intentionality to harm and refusal to face the criminal responsibility.”

Ebony Rempel, executive director of Odyssey House, explained how her organization trains people to spot the signs of domestic violence. Theres not always a safe place for folks to go,” she said. I think just continuing to work together, and engaging with many community partners, policymakers, and the police, we can find that hope and move forward in better ways.”

Everette R.H. Thompson, a minister and a trainer with Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), spoke of the efforts of black organisations to “breathe into liberation”. “What we are very clear about within the BOLD nation is that we are not protecting our black women, our black girls. We are not protecting our native siblings, or our brown and any and other people of colour,” he said. “The government and policies that we put forth, be it the violence against women act or anything else even at local levels, are not enough. How do we embody what we call liberation in real ways? 

Amanda Wallin, a Black Cloud woman and a First Nations Cree Artist who lives in Winnipeg Manitoba, shared her personal heartbreak over her daughter being abused. This topic is extremely important to me because I have two daughters, and I have taken my daughter repeatedly to the hospital because of abuse,” she said.

I dont believe theres enough done,” she added, sharing a photo of her daughter.

Rev. Dr Chris Ferguson, former general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and currently a Thursdays in Black Ambassador, served as moderator for the discussion, fielding reflections and ideas from speakers who painfully shared very personal experiences.

Each of you have touched on issue of spirituality, church and models of accompaniment—and thats been powerful,” he said. All the levels of this are important.”

Watch the recorded session here