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February 7, 2003

Dear Friends,
This is a week of sadness and grief in our country and in the other countries from which the astronauts on board the Columbia came. Their scientific work benefited all of us and they were truly brave in taking on the challenge of space research. I heard two astronauts being asked whether they would want to fly again after this latest tragedy. They both said, "I'd go tomorrow." I am awed by that commitment and bravery.

We are all aware of the precarious times we are going through as a world teetering on the brink of war. It is a sobering time. May we all bring our healing selves to our lives, our conversations and our work. We are not strangers to fear and death in our Silent Witness work and yet we still move forward every day, with gratitude, love, hope and healing. May we be renewed by the spirits of those Silent Witnesses who are gone but who continue to speak as loudly as ever.

Lecia Brannon (Mother of Silent Witness, CA, new email address), Brenda Seger (Police wives web site)


We got this sad piece of news from Chrystal Friedman, of the Scottsdale Jaycees.

It is with great sadness that yet another young life was cut short from domestic violence. A baby was killed by his father this week in Mesa. The Scottsdale Jaycees and family members have come together with the community in aiding the baby's family with funeral expenses. A car wash was held today to raise funds and a hat was passed last night at the Parada Del Sol and Scottsdale Jaycee Old Timer's Kick Off which raised $250.00 toward expenses. Violence touches everyone with the death of a child - we can only hope and pray that what we do in the aftermath sooths the families loss in some way.

*Thanks Chrystal for the wonderful support of the Jaycee organization in Scottsdale. We all need to gather together during these hard times for families.

This note from Lecia Brannon, the mother of a teenaged girl who was murdered by her x boyfriend in their home while the family slept. We are sending one of the first of Sheila's Shawls to Lecia since she has been involved with Silent Witness for years now. She and her husband were at the march in Washington in 1997 escorting their daughter's silhouette. I hope we got the shawl in the mail soon enough so that she could take it with her when she spoke at her daughter's high school.

From Lecia:
I am going to be speaking on Tuesday, February 4, to the theology classes at St. Josephs High School, my daughter's high school. The school has had the witnesses displayed several times and are very supportive of them. I am always amazed at the response that young people have to them. I truly believe that the best thing I can do when I speak is make violence a real life tragedy, not just a news story. Appealing to their hearts is the way to change and growth. I think I receive more from the kids than what I give.

[And here's the note we received from Lecia when she got her Sheila Shawl: The shawl is lovely! The color is beautiful and the weight of it is wonderful. I can't quite put into words how special I feel and how special this project is. Thank you again for thinking of me. I will wear it tomorrow and every chance I get! Thank you again, Lecia]

*Thank you, Lecia, for continuing to speak out about the continuing tragedy of domestic violence. We hope the shawl comforts you and furthers your healing process.

Here's good news from Sylvia Richardson about those great little book marks they've produced for Silent Witness:

So far we've sold around 350. With that amount sold the bookmark production costs have been met and we're running in the black. I'm delighted folks are catching on to them. The woman in Wyoming who has purchased two hundred is using them just as our committee had hoped - she's putting her organization's message on the back using a stick-on, and mailing them out to legislator's to encourage voting on pertinant bills. One committee member bought a handful and included them in Christmas cards.

*I just love these creative ideas. You keep coming up with more and more. To order book marks go to the products page of our web site and Sylvia's email is listed there along with costs etc. Go buy those great book marks. I just got my second order!

An article from the Idaho Statesman about DV murders in Idaho: Almost a third of the slayings committed in recent years in Idaho are related to domestic violence, according to a report by the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance. From mid-1995 to mid-2000, 51 of 156 murders were classified as domestic violence-related, the report said.>

*This is not good news but it is so important to get the word out so that people know what our goals are and how we plan to reach them.

Here's a story about DV programs from Central Ohio. We got this link from Monica Blaizgis to let us know what's going on in Ohio. She says we should note the "Fast Fact" sidebars--very useful and

*Good going, Ohio. A complete article and great for awareness building.

A good question from Amber Murray.
I have a question about Shiela's Shawls. My grandmother lives in New Jersey and likes to knit, I have talked to her about the shawls and she is very interested in being a part of it and I was hoping I could get some information of what she can do with them once they are done. She is in her late 80s, so the easier the instructions the better!

*Thanks Amber. I am hoping someone from NJ reads this and wants to distribute your grandmother's shawl to a family member of a murdered women, but if not I will give you the name of the Pittsburgh group who is distributing them in PA. Names of four distributors below.

And Annie Neal sent these studies for us to use as resources:
1. A Danger Assessment profile by Jacqueline Campbell, Ph.D

2A Femicide Report: Multi-State Study by Jacqueline Campbell

3. A report studying the decline in DV homicides in the 1990s (citing legal services, education and higher economic status for women, aging and more racial diversity as factors) by Amy Farmer (University of Arkansas) and Jill Tiefenthaler (Colgate)

4. A report on Bullying and Dating Violence by Sarah Roberts, 2001. If you would like to see any of these please contact Annie Neal at

*Thanks for these resources, Annie. These are hopeful given what we are all working on. And it is helpful to have people studying these trends.

And this note from the brother of a Silent Witness in Oregon:
Thank you for your kind note and the prior SW emails. I enjoy being in the loop and on the road to more participation in the cause to stop domestic violence. The day after we met in Portland, there was a short article with my picture in the local paper. I am always amazed at how many people respond to me when I have been in the press, and how favorably they respond. It excites me to think that I can really make a difference, I know my sister is proud. I honesty can't wait to get going. Again, thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. I hope we meet again.

*I would love to have you start a "Men speak out about domestic violence" part of the web site for men to relate their heartfelt responses to their experiences with domestic abuse.

And this announcement on the Violence Against Women Symposia at Lewis and
Clark Law School organized by Linda Leavitt. The dates are Thursdays, Feb. 6 through March 13. Silent Witnesses will appear at the Symposia and there are links to our web site from their web page. What a nice collaboration.

*Nice job Linda. And it is an honor to be associated with such a fine


Comprehensive church DV program uses effective treatment model within church
settings without court orders:

The churches throughout Eugene, OR have gotten together and started acomprehensive Christian based approach to domestic violence. Their organization is called CAFA (Christians Addressing Family Abuse). Preliminary results from a survey of women whose spouses or partners participated in CAFA¹s batterer intervention program are partially available now and will be included as part of the larger evaluation of the Lane County coordinated community response to intimate partner violence sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The evaluation report will be in print by early fall. Carolyn Rexius MSW, is the coordinator of the CAFA program. Three women initiated the program, one was a therapist and the other two were survivors of abuse.

The reason this program represents a large breakthrough is that it involves men who might not otherwise be part of the criminal justice system, takes their faith into consideration in the healing process, and encourages them to come to treatment voluntarily. So far the program has been successful and it uses one of the new types of treatment models. Here are the highlights of this program.

Who's involved?
1. Clergy who are trained and are integral to the program. They preach on the issue, ask the right questions, understand the consequences of DV, and they participate in the interventions. The churches and clergy got involved after attending a seminar with Sarah Buel: 250 clergy came to the training.

2. Fifteen counselors of all denominations who are trained to use special treatment models including emotional regulation, scripture etc. (more on that later).

3. Couples who are involved in abuse and are now surrounded with support, love, the power of their faith and the expectation of accountability.

How does it work? A person or couple come to pastor or are referred to the pastor because of DV or abuse. The pastor refers them to the program and accompanies the husband to the first group. The clergy also let's him know that he will not be able to continue in church ministries unless he attends group--so he is gently mandated, but most go to groups without court orders.

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