Faith to Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse

Over the past year and a half since the revival of the #MeToo movement, it has become more and more apparent that Gender Based Violence affects people of all walks of life. This means that there are survivors and victims in our own faith communities too. While there are cases when these experiences are more public than others, we as members of the Cincinnati Interfaith Community have decided to be proactive in continuing the conversation of how our faith communities can better address sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking in our midst - with an important focus on supporting survivors.

With this goal in mind, on Sunday March 31, The Changing Role of Women in our Faith Communities, a series of interfaith symposiums, will present Faith to Faith, an Interfaith Forum on Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse. The forum will feature both a panel and interactive break out sessions regarding how both individuals and faith communities can bring change through recognizing gender-based violence (including domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking), speaking out against it, implementing preventative measures, and supporting survivors.

Change happens through conversation that leads to communal action. It is our hope that through conversations with leaders and members of different faiths as well as experts from organizations doing important work on this front we can bring needed change to Cincinnati. Faith to Faith, program of The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Xavier University is proud to be in collaboration with American Jewish Committee (AJC Cincinnati); Crossroads Church; Festival of Faiths Cincinnati; Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Interfaith Cincy, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati; Women Helping Women; the President's Office of Xavier University; Xavier University’s Center for Faith and Justice and Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice;and the YWCA Greater Cincinnati.

We hope that you will join in our learning and conversations Sunday March 31, 2019 at Hebrew Union College. To register for the event or learn more, please go to https://faithtofaith.eventbrite.com or check out our Facebook event entitled “Faith to Faith.” If you have further questions, send them to zoe.mccoon@huc.edu.


March 13, 2019 Press Release -

Faith to Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse

Cincinnati, Ohio — The Changing Role of Women in our Faith Communities, a series of interfaith symposiums, will present Faith to Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse on Sunday, March 31, 1:30-5pm, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). The forum will speak to the topic of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and will address how faith communities are impacted by these types of abuse. Religious-based organizations and other community resources will provide information on how to recognize unhealthy situations, the prevention of gender-based violence, and available support for survivors. 

Local experts will detail the impact of harassment, sexual misconduct, nonconsensual sexual acts, and abusive behaviors in our country and within our own community. Professional counselors will speak about supporting survivors of trauma and connecting them with local resources, including law enforcement and crisis agencies that consult on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  

The program will commence with a panel discussion entitled, "Faith, Community, and Accountability: What are the sources of wisdom and challenge in addressing Gender Based Violence in communities of faith?" Four, local religious leaders will serve as panelists for this insightful discussion. They include, Shakila Ahmad, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Dr. Satinder S. Bharaj, Guru Nanak Society of Greater Cincinnati, Dr. Ashley Theuring, Xavier University: Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice, and Rabbi Irvin Wise, Adath Israel Congregation.

At check-in, participants will select a breakout session to attend from four options. “An Introduction to Gender-Based Violence – Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, & Stalking.” In this session, advocates and survivors will become familiar with definitions, prevalence, aspects of power and control relationships, barriers faced by survivors, helpful interventions and response, and resources available.

“In Her Shoes – An Interactive Educational Experience about Domestic Violence,” will simulate how a person experiencing an abusive relationship moves, acts, thinks, and makes choices. Used as a tool to help cultivate empathy for those in violent situations, this session will provide insight into the daily life of a survivor of domestic violence and the obstacles survivors often face.

Designed for clergy, congregational staff and volunteers, “Models of Faith Community Action” will describe the development, structure, and outreach practices of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC) and their response to intimate partner and sexual violence and harassment in their community. The ICGC team has policies and procedures to handle sexual violence and harassment situations while providing survivors emotional support, wrap around and safety team assistance, a hotline, education, and mapping to resources. Additionally, ICGC provides education to service providers on culturally sensitive issues and best practices in assisting Muslim clients. 
You don’t have to be a deity to intervene in harmful situations. “Divine Interventions: Building Skills to Stop Interpersonal Violence” will offer practical strategies to interrupt and de-escalate harmful behaviors, such as discrimination, harassment, and assault.

The organizer of the event, Zoe McCoon, a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR and a Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Fellow at The Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue on the campus of Xavier University said, “Faith to Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse will bring together religious communities, their leaders, and other advocates to help empower individuals to protect the physical safety of themselves and others by promoting healthy relationships and offering resources for prevention and education to compel change.”

The Forum is a program of The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue in collaborative with American Jewish Committee (AJC Cincinnati), Crossroads Church, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Women Helping Women, Xavier University’s Center for Faith and Justice and Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice, and the YWCA Greater Cincinnati. Steering Committee members include Shakila Ahmad, Tala Ali, Dr. James Buchanan, Jennifer Chartier, Maria Cole, Cynthia Cummins, Shilpa Desai, Cathy Heldman, Angela Inglis, Sandy Kaltman, Aisha Khurshid, Abby King Kaiser, Judie Kuhlman, Blair Leedy, Kelley Maher, Alycia McClurg, Zoe McCoon, Kristin Shrimplin, Dr. Ashley Theuring, and Rev. Heather Wiseman.

The event is free and open to people of all genders, sexuality, faiths and backgrounds. It will be held in Mayerson Hall on the campus of HUC-JIR, 3101 Clifton Avenue. For more information, call Cynthia at 513-745-3922 or email Cummins@Xavier.edu.