I had the honor of attending the Black Families, Black Relationships, Black Sexuality conference a few weeks ago, along with 140 or so other professionals and students. It was the first conference in association with The Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians, and it was phenomenal. I was able to catch up with a few of the other attendees afterwards and ask them a few questions. Our interviews will be published over the next few weeks. My first interview was with Dr. Zupenda Davis-Shine.
Karen Rayne: Which workshop was the most powerful experience for you?
Zupenda Davis-Shine: This is hard. It’s a tie between two:
- Sex Addiction 101 (Lunch Keynote) by Rob Weiss. I’ve never attended a talk on Sex Addiction. Rob’s talk was honest, thought-provoking and dispelled a lot of myths and misconceptions about sex addiction
- The Revelations of Asher: An Endarkened, Feminist New Literacies Event by Dr. Jeanine Staples. Dr. Staples’ workshop described five identities in love (Main Chick, Side Chick, Bonnie, Bitch and Victim) and introduced the Supreme Lover Identity. This workshop provided a lot of substance to why women love the way that they love and demonstrated the various connections of behaviors and patterns women exhibit not only in their intimate relationships with men but also in relationships with their sister friends. It helps to answer many questions that arise in my work on domestic violence prevention and African American heterosexual intimate relationships. I can’t wait to read her book!
KR: If you could have invited anyone in the world to attend the conference, who would you have invited and why?
ZDS: Conservative policymakers who may not understand the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality and how it directly and indirectly impacts health status and well-being. They need to understand how their views contribute to health disparities, marginalization and social injustice!
KR: Can you tell us a little about who you work with, and what issues you are most interested in?
ZDS: I am an Assistant Professor and Director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health at La Salle University. My background is in HIV and domestic violence prevention and reproductive and sexual health. I am most interested in African American heterosexual intimate relationships and how they impact sexual health. Other areas of interest are microaggressions and emotional domestic violence. Everyone is aware of blatant racism but there needs to be more awareness of microaggressions, or “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership”.
Regarding violence- Many are familiar with the signs and outcomes of physical violence; but more awareness is needed with emotional and mental domestic violence. I currently sit on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) coalition on campus to help increase awareness on campus and change the culture of violence and rape on campus.
KR: What do you do when you aren’t working?
- Worshipping at church
- Dining or doing something artsy (movies/show/event) with my husband of 3 months!
- Spending time with family and close friends
- Listening and dancing to music
- Watching TV- I’m not a huge TV person but I try to watch the news daily and I watch only 4 shows: Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and Quantico. I’m slowly but surely bringing physical fitness and reading for enjoyment back into my life.
KR: Tell us something about where you learned what you know, professionally?
ZDS: I learned about sexuality and reproductive health early on from my Senior thesis on the frequency of use of contraception among adolescents based on data collected from consumers of an adolescent clinic. I learned more from various trainings that I attended as a health educator when I worked at a school-based youth services center located in Camden, NJ, where I was born and raised. Attending workshops and conferences sponsored by the Center for Sex Education played an instrumental part as well.
My knowledge about domestic violence came from experience (yes, I am a survivor), training (I’m a certified domestic violence survivor advocate) and volunteering (helping survivors with restraining orders, exit strategies, etc.).
My knowledge about microaggressions and African American heterosexual intimate relationships come from experience and my dissertation, “African American Heterosexual Men’s Experiences of Emotionally and Sexually Intimate Relationships with Women: Implications for HIV Sexual Risk and Protective Behaviors”.
KR: Anything else you would like us to know about you, your work, or the ABSC conference?
ZDS: The ABSC conference was AMAZING! This was the first one and it was very comprehensive and well-planned. I look forward to future conferences and activities.
I am interested in assessing college students’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs related to sexuality and domestic violence and relationships/associations between the two.
If you are interested in getting in touch with Dr. Davis-Shine, her contact information is as follows:
Dr. Zupenda M. Davis-Shine, DrPH, MPH, MCHES
Director and Assistant Professor, Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) Program
La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences
St. Benilde Tower – Office 3329
La Salle University
1900 W. Olney Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa 19141