Student, faculty members participate in International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Megan Casner '22, Professor Tom Arcaro and Assistant Professor Ahmed Al Fadaam participated in an international Zoom conference honoring the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Though the conference had participants from several continents, it was organized and convened by academics and activists in Kurdistan.

The United Nations designated Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this age of COVID-19, the UN calls gender-based violence (GBV) the “Shadow Pandemic.”

Many events were held around the globe in support of this day, and Megan Casner ’22, Professor Tom Arcaro and Ahmed Al Fadaam participated in a Zoom conference jointly organized by the Kurdish Regional Government and the Ministry of Culture and Youth, Department of Gender Equity.

Casner is a juniort majoring in anthropology and sociology. She has a passion for and has written on the topics of gender studies, feminism and gender-based violence. She and Arcaro, professor of sociology, presented comments addressing the topic of “Violence via Social Media.” Al Fadaam, assistant professor of communication design, served as translator.

Though Casner and Arcaro were invited to present specifically on the topic of “online gender-based violence (online GBV),” their comments also addressed the broader issue of the marginalization of racial, ethnic, and religious groups, citing the inherent
intersectionality of online GBV. Their presentation was followed by four other speakers and a short film featuring a young Yazidi survivor of gender-based violence.

In their concluding comments, they noted, “Online SGVB is a major global issue -rooted in toxic othering- that ultimately diminishes all humanity. We all need to listen, learn, and then contribute in any way we are able to address these issues, help to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice and dignity for all.

Working with the Al Masala Art Group, the conference organizers requested that Al Fadaam help organize a digital art exhibit for the conference and also act as a judge. The artwork focused on the conference theme and features many powerful images.  Here is a link to the exhibit Al Fadaam created.