Think Global Impact on Health: Mental Health and Communication: Gender, Violence, and Healing at TCU
On November 13, Rwandan humanitarian and activist Godeliève Mukasarasi, honored this year by the State Department as one of ten International Women of Courage and as TCU’s 2018 Global Innovator, will join four other thought and action leaders on TCU’s campus for a public discussion on global issues of communication, mental health, gender, violence, and healing.
Mukasarasi’s leadership and activism on these topics is an important feature of The Uncondemned, Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel’s powerful documentary about the first time that rape was prosecuted as a crime of war in the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda. In this film, Mitchell, who will serve as the moderator for Tuesday’s event, introduces global audiences not only to the courage of the women who put their lives and reputations on the line to stand up against sexual violence, but also compels viewers with their strength in promoting healing.
Think Global Impact on Health will examine, through the experiences and expertise of the panelists, circumstances that catalyze sexual violence – the rhetoric of “othering,” politics of gender and sexual violence, stigmatization – and global impacts on mental health.
The United Nations estimates that 35% of women (more than 1 in 3) around the world experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner and sexual non-partner violence (not including sexual harassment). These numbers are mired in global issues, such as socio-economic opportunity, gendered norms, human trafficking, and political conflict. In times of conflict, for example, perpetrators use the demoralizing effects of sexual violence to destroy families, communities, and community will, violating human rights and disrupting peace and security.
But, sexual violence and the circumstances that allow for it are not other people’s problems. According to the CDC, these issues are in our own communities: approximately 1 in 3 women (36.3%) and 1 in 6 men (17.1%) in the United States experience some form of sexual violence, many before the age of 18. This deeply and detrimentally affects victims’ physical and mental health and health of communities.
While it is important to understand the realities, risks, and complexities of sexual violence issues, we must also seek mechanisms for healing—and it is on healing through various modes of communication that the Think Global Impact on Health event will focus. What can “we” do? A message of survival, hope, and healing resonates in the stories, experiences, and work of each of the panelists:
Godeliève Mukasarasi built her organization SEVOTA in the wake of the Rwandan genocide to support the mental and socio-economic health of victims of sexual violence and affected communities. SEVOTA is devoted to the values of human dignity, compassion, and solidarity. Through her work, Mukasarasi uses culturally-embedded practices of singing and dancing as forms of communication to promote healing. In addition to her participation in this event, she will collaborate, as TCU’s Global Innovator, with faculty and students to promote TCU’s mission of educating individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.
Zana Marjanović is perhaps most famous for her roles as lead actress in Angelina Jolie’s In the Land of Blood and Honey (2010), in Snow (2008) and the highly-acclaimed A Rose in Winter (2018). Marjanović’s work extends to include her seat as a member of the Bosnian Parliament, an activist, and a survivor of the genocide against the Bosnians by the Serbs.
Elizabeth Blackney is a media strategist and fixer, whose work has taken her around the world and throughout the U.S. Her professional and personal work offer a symbol of dedication and commitment to dignity and human rights.
Dr. Priya Kundu is the Public Psychiatry fellow at Columbia University, overseeing their innovative mobile Psychiatry services program for safe havens, shelters, and community facilities in NYC. She worked with Partners in Health and Harvard’s School of Global Health and Social Medicine on site in Butaru, Rwanda. Ms. Kundu has already established a beautiful legacy of work in a short time, providing evidence for TCU students and the broader community of the relationship and relevance of global engagement.
For more information on the panelists and additional, public events featuring the panelists and other distinguished guests during TCU’s International week: https://tcuglobal.tcu.edu/events/international-week-activities/.
Dr. Catherine A. Coleman is an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University, where she is an executive committee member of Discovering Global Citizenship and a co-organizer of Think Global Impact on Health. Her own research is in the areas of marketing and strategic communication, gender, consumer culture, cross-cultural research, and ethics. Her professional experience includes cultural branding, advertising, and market research. A Savannah native, she already owned boots before moving to Fort Worth, and she is a proud Sewanee Tiger. She enjoys listening to her dog snore, burning her favorite pans, breathing in fresh ocean air, and traveling to new places.