Roundtalk: “Shame”

With Rafia Shahnaz & Dr. Josylyn C. Segal

We organized a closed intimate session focused on the (often devestating) concept of Shame on Thursday, 25 August at 7pm. We aimed to learn from and support each other. Therefore, this was not a workshop or seminar format, but rather an intimate gathering of a small actively engaged group.. Nevertheless, to give our roundtalk a frame and guidance, we were happy to confirm three speakers: Rafia Shahnaz (trainer and consultant), Dr. Aki Krishnamurthy and Dr. Josylyn C. Segal aka Devarim Jazz (clinical Psychologist).

Being ashamed of one’s sexuality

Being ashamed of one’s ethnic background

Being ashamed of one’s body 

Being ashamed of one’s religion

Being ashamed of one’s familial history

Being ashamed of one’s (mental) health

Being ashamed of one’s dis-abilities 

Being ashamed, or being made to be ashamed? Shame is among the most damaging of human emotions, with the power to convince us “I’m not good enough. I’m a failure. I’ll never belong. I’ll never be loved.” It is both an excruciating and a universal feeling. Shame can shut us down or emerge in ways destructive to ourselves and others.  Shame has been linked to addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders and bullying. So, it is crucial that we learn ways to deal with it and to build healthy barriers against it.  In this closed intimate circle, we want to not only talk about Shame but owned it, instead of it owning us. Bringing different perspectives to allow us to bring shame into light, untangle our feelings, and uncouple what we do from what we are. Continuing with our mission of creating safe(r ) space, this event was open for selected people only (members of BIWOC* Rising). 

Rafia Shahnaz is a trainer and consultant with several years of experience focusing topics as intersectionality, critical whiteness, anti-violence and anti-discrimination, diversity and
awareness oriented organizational development. They also facilitate empowerment spaces
for communities facing structural discrimination in form of racism, sexism, queerphobia and

Dr. Aki Krishnamurthy is a cis-woman of color, friend, sister, mother, daughter, somatic activist, feminist. She is a freelance empowerment trainer, theater and dance pedagogue and convinced that personal, social and political change must be thought from and with the body.  Author of the Cornelia Goethe award winning book “Scham Mach Geschlecht- Körperdialoge in Südindien” (2016).

Dr. Josylyn Segal is a clinical psychologist. Trained as a Marriage Family Therapist in Northern California and later specializing in cross-cultural and intercultural relational/identity dynamics in clinical psychology and multidisciplinary education, Josylyn bring to the therapy dynamic over thirty-five years of clinical and professional international experience. 


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BIWOC* Rising is the first intersectional co-working space & social club in Berlin and Germany. This safer space is exclusively for women, trans, inter and non-binary people who identify as Black, indigenous or of Colour! Through training programs, empowerment workshops, and a work-desk in the heart of Berlin-Kreuzberg, BIWOC* Rising is creating a new working culture – a working culture that transcends the white, homogenous, capitalist one that has been a core driver of gentrification and marginalization in Berlin.