Uncovering the Roots of Violence – Watch the webinar

Uncovering the Roots of Violence: New Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Social Justice, and Faith
In this moment of #MeToo, #EnoughisEnough, and #BlackLivesMatter, our essential task is to uncover the roots of violence including its roots in our religious traditions and faith communities. The extraordinary May 22, 2018 webinar event brought together three anti-violence pioneers to share fresh perspectives on the stories we have lived by and explore what it really takes to end the pandemic of violence against women, children, and other vulnerable peoples

Millions around the world strive to break free from traditions of violence in our intimate relationships and in our broader culture. But, even as we speak out for an ethic of human relationships grounded in mutuality and caring, we find ourselves confronting beliefs and traditions that justify and normalize violence, including traditions embedded in religious doctrine and practice. How can we re-shape the stories we live by and re-claim the power of faith communities as leaders in today’s intersecting movements to end violence and promote healthy, ethical human relationships?


Speakers include Riane Eisler, internationally known for her work to reveal the deep historical and cultural foundations of misogyny and violence in books such as The Chalice and the Blade and Sacred Pleasure; Julie Owens, a ground-breaking trainer in the field of domestic violence prevention and victim advocacy, and Ron Clark, Church-Planter and Minister of Portland, Oregon’s Agape Church of Christ, who has authored Freeing the Oppressed and developed innovative approaches to enrolling clergy-people as effective advocates for those who are victimized or oppressed. Moderated by Renita Robinson, CEO, Green Bay YWCA.

“Very informative training.” – Alicia Fuller, CW3 USARMY HRC

“I did have the opportunity to watch the webinar and found it very informative.  The majority of our staff at the shelter viewed it together which also lead to discussions on the topics.” – Norma Jean Hepler, Domestic Violence Court Advocate, YWCA of Central Virginia

How can we re-shape the stories we live by and re-claim the power of faith communities as leaders in today’s intersecting movements to end violence and promote healthy, ethical human relationships?

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Eisler, Owens, and Clark will candidly share the events in their own lives that sparked their passion for disrupting the roots of violence and will dialogue about how we can move away from traditions of domination and forge healthier and more equitable relationships – without leaving behind the faith traditions that can inspire and sustain our journey.

This dialogue explores:

  • How should we respond when sacred texts are used to justify violence?
  • How do we make sense of the ways in which religious texts seem to hold conflicting messages about how we are supposed to treat one another?
  • How can we help our faith communities stop ignoring or normalizing women’s experiences of intimate violence, while cultivating ears to hear and hearts to believe the experiences of women and other survivors of violence?
  • What roles can faith communities play?
  • Why is gender inequality the lynchpin of oppression and violence across different eras and cultures?
  • How does an intersectional understanding of oppression help us connect the dots between seemingly unrelated forms of violence?
  • What possibilities for action open when we understand domestic violence as a human rights and social justice issue?
  • Why are local interventions in violent behavior not enough to prevent violence in our families and communities?
  • What does it really take to move away from cultures of domination, driven by control and fear?
  • How can we build cultures of partnership which celebrate relationships of mutual benefit and mutual responsibility?

Download the Roots of Violence Webinar Resource list


Riane Eisler is President of the Center for Partnership Studies and internationally known as a systems scientist, attorney working for the human rights of women and children, and author of groundbreaking books such as The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 26 foreign editions, and The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. Dr. Eisler has received many honors, including honorary PhDs and peace and human rights awards. She lectures worldwide, including the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. Department of State, Congressional briefings, universities, corporations, conference keynotes, and events hosted by heads of State. Dr. Eisler is also co-founder of the Caring Economy Campaign, the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV), and is Editor in Chief of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, an online peer-reviewed journal housed at the University of Minnesota that was inspired by Eisler’s work.

In 1988 Julie Owens survived domestic violence (DV) attempted murder along with her pastor father. After healing, she attended a victim support group before herself co-facilitating groups and lobbying for improved laws. She left her field of special education to train counselors, develop training for physicians, and found an on-call ER crisis team and transitional shelter. She later directed related trauma research projects at the National Center for PTSD, coordinated DV efforts in an urban mental health system and oversaw victim service agencies in twenty counties of N.C. Julie has trained nationally and internationally for many years and in 2011 was sent to the Republic of Kosovo for the Department of State to provide nationwide training. She works as an independent Expert Consultant for the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, the DHHS National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center, Bank of America and other organizations. In 2017, she co-developed the national toolkit and screening tool for adult victims of human trafficking. Her primary focus is best practices in victim advocacy in both secular and faith-based settings.

Ron Clark is the minister for the Agape Church of Christ in downtown Portland, OR. He has been in ministry for over 30 years. He is an adjunct instructor for Portland Seminary and is co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Society of Biblical Literature’s “World of Early Christianity and New Testament Scriptures” section. He has authored books and articles concerning Intimate Partner Violence and Theology, Biblical studies and ministry, and Marriage and Family Ministry. Ron has an MDiv and D.Min from Harding School of Theology in Memphis, TN. He and his wife Lori planted Agape Church of Christ in downtown Portland in 2007 and lead ministries with various state, county, and local government agencies addressing houselessness, prostitution, abuse, trafficking, and developing healthy marriages. Ron and Lori have been married since 1987 and have three sons.


Renita Robinson is currently the CEO of the Green Bay YWCA. In her professional career, Renita has been an advocate, educator and supporter for victims of sexual and domestic violence across the life, gender and race span. Renita has served as Executive Director of the Committee Against Domestic Abuse, Inc. (the largest provider of domestic and sexual violence services in Southern Minnesota); Director of the Duluth Family Visitation Center, a program of the world re-known Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP); and as Adjunct Instructor at three Mid-western universities teaching a range of courses to undergraduate and graduate students in Education and Sociology.Renita designed and directed The Mirror Project, a non-medical recovery program within a 400 bed homeless shelter in the Peoples City Mission of Lincoln, NE.  The emphasis was on female domestic violence survivors with life controlling addictions. Renita was also a trainer with DAIP on Post-Separation Violence bringing to light how institutions designed to help victims often collude with abusers because they fail to recognize their insidious tactics. Her favorite accomplishment is raising two compassionate sons.

Questions? Contact Ann: annamberg.cps@gmail.com



Our event co-sponsors include:

Pathways to Safety International
Safe Alliance
Agape Church of Christ
Battering Intervention Services Coalition of Michigan
FaithTrust Institute
The Pixel Project
The North Carolina Council of Churches






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