These are events related to "Confronting Violence," a conference exploring how activism and cultural change can affect public policy and reduce violence, taking place at the Radcliffe Institute on April 9 and 10, 2015.

Events are free and open to the public.

Digital tour of a group of objects related to the theme of gender and violence in the Harvard Art Museums, with reflections by Vidya Sri, Human Rights Policy Fellow, Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School, and Founder, Gangashakti.


Noon–1:30 p.m.
Location: Harvard Kennedy School, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Rubenstein Building, Carr Center Conference Room
Panel discussion: “Examining the Legal and Implementation Gaps in the Global Framework on Violence Against Women”

This event will be a discussion by Carr Center fellows with online presentations from university and NGO partners from around the world. Researchers will deliver outcomes from collaborative projects on violence against women.

Moderator: Vidya Sri, Human Rights Policy Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School


  • Simi Kamal, Chief of Party, Gender Equity Program, Pakistan
  • Ramona Boodoosingh, Center for Samoan Studies, National University of Samoa
  • Dr. Ruth Aura, Chairperson, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya
  • Marina Pisklakova-Parker, Director, Centre to Stop VAW, Moscow, Russia
  • Kelbie R. Kennedy, University of Oklahoma, College of Law, International Indigenous Human Rights Clinic

Cosponsored by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study


Noon–2 p.m.
Location: Harvard Kennedy School, Littauer Building, Belfer Library (L369)
Panel discussion: “Justice and Accountability in US Rape Culture”
Note: A light lunch will be served.

This event will explore how justice and accountability for rape and other forms of sexual abuse may be affected by rape culture. Speakers will address rape culture in news coverage of rape and rape trials, whether aspects of rape culture extends to sexually abused children, as well as perspectives of victims about the justice system and how rape culture affects those who work with victims.

Moderator: Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Topics and Speakers:
Rape Culture in the US News Media: Results from a Pilot Study

  • Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Susanne Schwarz, MPP candidate, Harvard Kennedy School

Rape Culture and Child Sexual Abuse

  • Ross Cheit, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Brown University

Rape Victims’ Visions for Justice

  • Judith Herman RI '02, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Rape Culture and Professional Psychology

  • Kelly Champion, Clinical Psychologist, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates

Cosponsored by the Women in Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study


6–8 p.m.
Location: Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Menschel Hall, Lower Level
Note: Please enter via the Broadway Street entrance.
Film screening: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008; 72 min.) chronicles the remarkable story of a group of Liberian women who came together in 2003 to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. Thousands of women—mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and daughters, both Christian and Muslim—staged a silent protest outside the presidential palace, demanding a resolution to war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about an agreement during the stalled peace talks. Inspiring, uplifting, and motivating, Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations.

Support for this program is provided by the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund.

Cosponsored by Harvard Art Museums and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study


4:30–6 p.m.
Location: Harvard Divinity School, Andover Hall, Braun Room
Panel discussion: “Battering of Women in Historical and Contemporary Christian Narratives, A Theological Perspective”

Panelists will discuss their research on historical and contemporary narratives of battering. Often the accounts reveal striking similarities in the religious arguments that praise the suffering obedience of the victim and minimize the culpability of the batterer. In some cases, on the other hand, women or their communities call upon religious belief to support their resistance and responses to violence. Effective public policy and ministry must take into account the religious dimensions of the problem and the responses to it.

Moderator: Robert Hensley-King, Harvard Divinity School


  • Beverly Mayne Kienzle, John H. Morison Professor of the Practice in Latin and Romance Languages, Harvard Divinity School 
  • Nancy Nienhuis, Dean of Campus Life and Professor of Theology and Social Justice, Andover Newton Theological School

Cosponsored by Harvard Divinity School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study