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01-24-03

Dear Friends,

I know you might get tired of hearing me say this, BUT I am once again
overwhelmed by the generosity, the creativity and the warmth of your work
with Silent Witness and the whole DV arena. This week I heard from people
who are starting SW exhibits in rural places with hardly any resources; an
11-year-old girl who wants to work with us to get at least three quilt
patterns on our web site for kids from abusive families; a women who is
working within a city-wide 15 denominational church setting with a
successful treatment model for perpetrators; several women who've made
shawls and are moved by the experience; two recipients of shawls who are
already feeling the healing of being involved with SW; and with a man who
may be able to make a Smithsonian connection for SW. You are amazing,
utterly amazing. And then the Oprah show highlights several key issues that
we've been working with for the last several years. And that's just this
week!! Thank you all for your creativity, your open hearts and for your
collaborative spirits.

We are honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. in our ending quotes this week, and
somehow I think he would have approved heartily of Silent Witness since he
believed in bringing out truth in non-violent ways and making change using
grassroots organizations.

WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Kim Pillin (GFWC/OFWC, new SW exhibit, Poland, OH), Sally Sjaastad (Montana
Silent Witness, mother/grandmother of victims), Jennifer Hochman (Clinical
Psychologist, Counseling Center, Barry University), Gail McMeekin (Author,
coach, MA), Kendra Arimoto (Stanford University, new SW exhibit), Leslie
Anderson (Jr. League, SW Coordinator, Charleston, WVA), Marilyn Halpern (new
SW exhibit, Unitarian Universalist Church, Hawaii), Julie Bonner (Resident
Director, Regis College, Weston, MA), Kate Barkley (Executive Director,
Womenspace, Eugene, OR), Carmen Pitre (Executive Director, Task Force on
Family Violence, Milwaukee, WI), Susie Reed (Stop Abusive Family
Environments, Mercer County, WVA, possible new SW exhibit), Mena Mitchell
(Nurse, rural NH, possible new SW exhibit), Carolyn Rexius (MSW, CAFA--
Christians Addressing Family Abuse, Eugene, OR, new email address), Julia
Strange (Student working on a SW project, Bowling Green State University,
Ohio)


NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:

California
Marie De Santis Women's Justice Center sent us this information on a new
form they have developed, a Form for Evaluating Police Response to Domestic
Violence For Use by Victims and Advocates
www.justicewomen.com/help_police_evaluation.html

*Thanks for this information. It's so neat to see all the resourceful people
out there working together.

England:
This great note came from Rochelle Greayer of the Jr. League of London:
Here's what they're cooking up. It's so British, I just love it.

I am a member of the Junior League of London and we are exploring the idea
of staging a show garden - designed around the Silent Witness figures- for
the Hampton Court Flower Show in July. Hampton Court Flower show is the
largest garden event in UK - a country of gardeners and the gardens in the
show are publicized nationally during primetime TV on the BBC.

*This is such a great way for people who ordinarily wouldn't get to see the
Witnesses or hear their stories to come into contact with them, and in a
calm, serene setting too. Great idea.

Florida:
This note comes from Lorraine Smith who works with the Sarasota area
diocese.

Just finished an interview with Channel 40 (an ABC affiliate) here in
Sarasota, Florida with Cheryl Green. She came to do a story on the display
of silhouettes we are creating for tour in our diocese in connection to our
joining the Silent Witness Initiative last November. Our Florida Catholic
also ran a story that made the first page earlier this month that indicated
our diocese' commitment to bringing the message to our communities that
domestic violence is on the rise and that help, hope, compassion and change
is needed and possible for the future to show stronger and safer family
homes.

We'll keep you posted as to our progress. We already have our first three
silent witness displays going to parishes later this month and through
February - and our Task Group meets next Tuesday to work out some further
details on presenting and moving these figures as well as future displays
throughout our 10 county diocese. Blessings +++

*Lorraine, this is great work and pretty fast given the holidays. Wonderful
news coverage. Send us photos of your exhibit and we'll get them on the web
site. Thanks for the great work. We love to have churches involved.

Minnesota:
A dear "small world" letter from a woman who was involved in the prayer
shawl project before we "adopted" it as a way to honor Sheila Wellstone and
provide a comfort to women who've been involved in DV tragedies.

Dear Janet, I write to introduce myself as a link in the chain of prayer
shawls/Sheila shawls. On the evening that our friends Sheila and Paul
Wellstone died, I attended the gathering at the UCC church here in
Northfield. One of the people who came to the microphone to express her
grief was a staff member at the WomenSafe Center in Faribault. She spoke of
Sheila's visits to the safe center and her frequent question, "What do you
need? What can I do for you in Washington?"

In my wondering what I am called to do in response to the huge hole left by
Wellstones' death, I felt nudged to visit the safe center to
see if there is something I can do. I made the initial visit. As I drove
away, I knew that I could at least bring a couple of prayer shawls to their
group room--to connect my prayers to their needs, to provide some warmth and
beauty to that room, and perhaps it would lead to more. Before I returned
with my gift of shawls to the safe center, Scott had told me about your link
between the St. Olaf alumni article on these shawls and the Silent Witness
project. I was in awe at ripple effect the shawls may make into the
families who experience the tragedy and grief of domestic violence.

As I continue to knit and pray with prayer shawls myself, I want you to know
that my prayers are being added to the huge, international project in which
you are involved. I am reminded again that as each of us is faithful to do
our part, we link together with others to bring healing and wholeness to our
world. Many blessings, Lois Lindbloom

*Lois, what a moving letter and what an interesting networking experience
these shawls have been. What started as a grassroots effort has now grown to
a much larger but still grassroots effort.

Russia:
The Compass Manual on Human Rights that we received from the Council of
Europe has this to report about DV in Russia:

In 1995, after the first Beijing Women's Conference the first reliable
statistics on the extent of DV in Russia were published. These suggested
that 14,500 women a year had been killed by their husbands and about fifty
thousand had been hospitalized. Getting the country to recognize this
problem was largely due to the work of an NGO called ANNA, a founding member
of the Russian Association for Crisis Centers for Women. The organization
was set up by Marina Pisklokova, a leading women's rights activist. In July,
1993, she worked alone to run a hotline for women in distress and then
expanded the work to establish the first women's crisis center in the
country. She has lobbied for legislation, worked with a hostile law
enforcement establishment to bring aid to victims, and she started a media
campaign to expose the violence against women and educate women about their
rights. By the summer of 1994 they had trained a first group of women to
work as telephone counselors and, in 1995, began work in other Russian
cities for local women's groups that were starting to emerge. ANNA helped to
develop programs to provide psychological and legal counseling for the
victims of DV and, in April 1997, lawyers working for the organization
brought the first DV case to court and won, setting a legal precedent for
all of Russia. By the start of the new millennium they had more than 40
women's crisis centers operating throughout Russia. The web site for the
organization is www.owl.ru/anna

*Courageous women all over the world. ALL over the world. More power to you

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