The Summer Campus 2010 TTI, sponsored by OVW in partnership with CALCASA, hosted the workshop “Addressing Issues of Violence Against Women in Faith-Based Institutions.” Amongst the many campuses that are funded through the OVW campus program grant, there are several that are faith based such as University of Sioux Falls, Pacific Lutheran University and St. Mary’s College.
During this workshop, the presenter, Venida Rodman Jenkins discussed secular versus sacred language that at times can cause friction in communicating how to address violence against women on campus. She mentioned that although we are saying the same thing, word choice may give the impression we are not on the same page. This was a very relevant point not only for faith-based institutions, but every campus that is doing this work that deals with challenges in communication. The misunderstanding is prompted by generational gaps, racial distinctions or moral codes. The differences in language has the potential to breed the sense of opposition, instead of unification.
After speaking with folks that attended the TTI, I found that the one sound solution is to create a safe space for similar campuses to voice openly their concerns, not as a venting session, but with the intent of removing the feeling of isolation for the sake of moving toward the solution of adherence to listening and creating a line of communication that the sacred and the secular feel comfortable speaking.