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February 13, 2006

Dear Friends,

It has been awhile since the last newsletter! I have a lot of information to share with you. All around the nation people are gearing up for their exhibits in April. I have attached a guide that the Canadian Silent Witness has come up with to help people in their country start exhibits. It is an awesome resource and would be a great tool to help other people start Silent Witness Projects in communities near you!!

Renee Youngberg our coordinator for Sheila's Shawls sent me this great story! Congratulations Janet you inspire me and I am sure most of the recipients of this newsletter!

It's Celebration time again! The Minnesota Women's Consortium celebrated its' 26th birthday on Wednesday, February 1,2006 , at the Klas Center , Hamline University. The theme of Honoring Creative Women, Inspiring Social Justice. The event will be emceed by Cathy Wurzer of public radio and television and our own Janet Hagberg represented• Silent Witness National Initiative • as an honoree. Janet has been with Silent Witness since it's conception and has worked diligently for Silent Witness National Initiative for years. She started the Sheila's Shawls program that is now an international project and created the website to share all of the information gathered by the Silent Witness National Initiative. She also helped create one of the first witnesses and housed it for many years as it made its' appearance across the country, including the March on Washington. Congratulations to Janet for all her years of service and creative inspirations to continue to have women reach out and help women.

Carleen Cairns our State Coordinator for Florida is looking for anyone who is interested in helping with the exhibits in Florida ! She is also asking anyone who has done street theatre or plays about the silent witness project to contact her. She is looking into different programming ideas for this spring. You can email me if you do have any ideas or want to help because I would love the information as well and I will be sure to pass it on to her! Silentwitness2010@gmail.com

I would love for you to send me updates on where you are displaying the silhouettes and other ways you are making a difference and ending domestic homicide! Please email me any stories or press releases that you have! I love to add them to the newsletter! Silentwitness2010@gmail.com

I would like to welcome our new newsletter subscribers:

Nancy Ross-Holt in Nixa, Mo
Aqueelah Rogers in Muskegon , MI
D Williams
Jeni Jenson in Pendleton , OR
Kelly Hughes in Brunswick , MI
Wendy Brown in Ladysmith, WI
Gina Noirot in Thompson Falls , MT
Launa Sisk in Camarillo, CA
Denise Eagle in Ravenna, Ohio
Rev. Juanita Wiseman in Raton, NM
Kathleen Adams in St. Ann , MO
Kelly Newcomb in Wausau, WI
Bonny Taborin in Apohaqui, NB
Lynda Dokken in Sheridan, WY
Greg Spurgeon in Merced, CA
Patricia Burke in Marlboro, MA
Christine Vandeurzen in Green Bay, WI
Jeanette Norman in Norwood , OH
Kevin Creagan in Longmont, CO
Ebony Gerald in Myrtle Beach, SC
Linda Williamson in Lafayette, LA
Ben Atherton-Zeman in Action, MA

I would also like to welcome and thank the people who are going to start new exhibits in their area or bringing an existing exhibit to the area!

Rose Aguero in Hagatna, Guam

Christina in Fort Hays , Kansas for Fort Hays State University

Sarah Dargua in Spokane, Washington for Gonzaga University

Heidi Markow in Easton, PA

Susan Gauvin in Ashland, MA for Ashland Youth Advisory

Gennie Lynn in Tulsa , OK for The University Of Tulsa

Debra Schweiger Berg in Illinois


New Mexico
North Dakota

Here are the newest coordinators:

Jerri Miller Montana
Kamaka Alston Washinton
Bonnie Watkins Minnesota
Lorraine Hard Minnesota
We now have an official job description:

The state coordinator keeps track of who in the state have exhibits. Some coordinators have regular correspondence, usually by email, with the groups. They are the contact person for someone who would like to start a new exhibit. They share the shield stories they already have in order to help people not repeat the work that was already done. Some may recruit new SW exhibits as well. Some may coordinate the donating and borrowing of an exhibit for people to use across the state. Some sponsor an event in October for everyone to come to, but others just publicize the events of others. They also keep in touch with us by email or phone to let us know what is happening, keep us up on emerging issues, ask for advice or other things they needed. This may take two to three hours a week in email correspondence. During busier times it may be up to four or five hours.

As you can see we still need many more coordinators! I know that there are people who help and loan exhibits across the state automatically so it would be great to get the information out there for everyone.
I realize that there are people who play this role already. If so then all I need is your contact information so when people in your state need help I can get them to the right place!

What's Up with Sheila's Shawls?

Let's knit Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves!

Welcome to all the new members to the Sheila's Shawls website as well as those that have taken on the state coordinator position. We currently have 14 committed state coordinators and have a working relationship in a couple other states with Prayer Shawl groups that will donate to their local shelter and not want to commit to being a state coordinator.

Here is two stories of connections

First in Tulsa , OK Sherry writes: I'm donating two shawls to a Woman's History Month project silent auction in March that will be attended by lots of Tulsa Dv and SA advocates and women's rights leaders. I'll lay Silent Witness brochures on the table with the shawls. I'll let you all know if get good response from potential crafters! One of our RSVP knitting group volunteers had the idea to take your Shawl in Progress idea, Renee, to her doctor's office. The doctor agreed and now other volunteers are planning to take baskets to their doctor's offices, too, to ask if they can leave a project in progress. A woman's advocate asked if volunteers might be willing to go to women's correctional facilities to teach them to knit/crochet shawls for victims. We're investigating the possibility...

Then in Minnesota Renee writes:

Just like Sherry's ideas that build from the shawls in progress, I received an email from this woman. I am posting the email below. One of the places that I asked to do a shawl in progress was Nordic Living in Nisswa, MN. A small town in northern Minnesota . They contacted me and said they would be happy to put one in the store and asked some details on how to set it up, because they are more like a Ben Franklin or Michael's with many crafts not just knitting. They also asked if they could put information about Silent Witness and Sheila's Shawls in their newsletter. Of course, I said yes. From that I get this email.

I received a newsletter from Nordic Living in Nisswa, Minnesota , telling of the Silent Witness Shawls and Scarves. I have checked your website and there is no coordinator for Montana ; however, I am on an Outreach Committee for our church, and we are attempting to reach out to needs and services in various ways. While I am unable to offer assistance as a Coordinator (probably lacking the skills and time at this point). I am wondering if our church can spearhead a program of knitting Silent Witness Shawls and/or Scarves for our local Mercy Home. Mercy Home is located in Great Falls specifically for women and children in abusive situations. I would be glad to bring this idea before our knitters and report to you if a decision is made to participate.

We have a program in place for Prayer Shawl Ministry whereby the shawls are given to those persons who are critically ill or are homebound. We have also given them to high school graduates who are either entering college or the military. All are given to let our members know we surround and uphold them in prayer. I look forward to hearing from you, hoping that we can use the name of Silent Witness Shawls and Scarves even though we would be giving the knitted projects to local recipients. Thank you, Pat

Isn't it wonderful to see how far reaching things can get. Just so you know my response to Pat was of course, they can work through their outreach in their church and not have a coordinator. But if we have a request for a shawl in Montana, they would be willing to be our first contact.

I also have heard from Myrna Stahman, the author of Stahman's Shawls and Scarves who is networking and sharing information with her knitting groups in Idaho . We hope to hear that we have a state coordinator for Idaho soon.

We are very excited to announce that to date Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves has contributed over 576 shawls and 56 scarves. We are reaching out to others in ways that were beyond what was thought of during the conception of Sheila's Shawls.

Domestic Peace and Blessings,
Renee Youngberg
National Coordinator
Sheila' Shawls and Paul's Scarves.

May there be domestic peace in every home.




From Patricia Poohachoff:


The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) asked citizens across the province last year to contribute stories and poems to a new collection of writing about the strength of Alberta's women. We are proud to announce that Standing Together, published by Brindle & Glass is now available through the ACWS office, various women's shelters, and book stores across the province.

This book is a moving testimony from women who have experienced family violence and abuse in our communities, and those who have watched family and friends overcome the problem. This hopeful book is a vivid reflection of women's bravery, strength and belief in a better future.

The book will raise funds for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters and support shelter initiatives across the province.

Email ppoohachoff@acws.ca for more information

From Leslie Monaghan:

Silent Witness Project honours victims of domestic violence

Life-size silhouettes commemorate women killed by husbands, partners or acquaintances

Ottawa - At a meeting of the NUPGE Advisory Committee on Women's Issues, a guest speaker from the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project, Deborah Doherty, addressed the committee on the Silent Witness Project, which focuses on the issue of domestic violence.

The Project is a travelling exhibit of life-size red wooden silhouettes. Each represents a New Brunswick woman who was killed by a husband, partner or acquaintance. Because these women no longer have a voice, the silhouettes are called the Silent Witnesses.

Each figure bears a chest-plate engraved with the name of a woman who once lived and worked among us. A few silhouettes are anonymous, reflecting unsolved, or uncounted, murders of women. Ms. Doherty advised that through research and information sharing, the goal is to hopefully craft a silhouette to honour every New Brunswick woman who has died tragically as a result of domestic violence since 1990.

Ms. Doherty explained the objectives of the Silent Witness Project, the roles of provincial and national organizations, the identifying of emerging domestic violence issues (public education, action and advocacy) and the possibilities for a Canada-wide Silent Witness Project.

The ultimate goal of the Project is to help raise public awareness about domestic violence. It also has the potential to help families, friends and communities heal following the murder of a woman at the hands of her partner and to help save the lives of other women.

The New Brunswick Silent Witness Project was the first in Canada , launched on Nov. 7, 2002 . Since that time, participants in the Project now include the provinces of New Brunswick (NBUPPE/NUPGE), Prince Edward Island (PEIUPSE/NUPGE), Nova Scotia (NSGEU/NUPGE), Manitoba (MGEU/NUPGE), Newfoundland and Labrador (NAPE/NUPGE) and Alberta (Alberta Council of Women's Shelters). Saskatchewan (SGEU/NUPGE) has been networking with many of the Women's Shelters to inquire about joining the Project.

NUPGE components in each of these provinces have been working in partnership with coalitions and grassroots organizations (such as the Red Cross, RCMP, John Howard, Society transition homes, family violence research centers and victims groups).

Working with these groups is vital in determining the identities of victims, as well as interacting with family members for input, approval of a 'silent witness' silhouette, the outcome of court proceedings and so on.

The Mission Statement of the Silent Witness Project is to promote peace, healing and responsibility in adult relationships in order to eliminate domestic murders. The 'vision' is to promote successful community-based domestic violence reduction efforts in order to reach zero domestic murders by 2010.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) both supports the mission and vision of the Silent Witness Project and works diligently with all coalitions to reach this goal. NUPGE


From the CAPEV update:

Visit http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovccalendar for the Office for Victims of Crime's (OVC's) latest Web tool designed to keep professionals informed about what's happening in the field. OVC's Calendar of Events helps crime victim service providers and allied professionals stay in touch with all of the latest victim assistance conferences, trainings, ceremonies, and other events throughout the Nation. You can scan events coming up next week, next month, or even next year, sign up to be notified of victim-related events as they are added, or promote your own event to a national audience.


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed by both houses on December 17, authorizing almost $4 billion over the next five years, and now awaits the President's signature. The compromised version of VAWA was approved as part of the Justice Department budget, passing the Senate on December 16 and the House on December 17. The reauthorization broadens efforts to combat violence against women with more focus on prevention strategies, culturally specific services, and enhanced services for victims with disabilities, and it broadens services to include children and teenagers. The 2005 bill authorizes 21 percent more funding than the version passed in 2000.

"This legislation will go far in providing protection for these women and their families," Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) told the Associated Press. The SHIELD Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), which exempts domestic violence shelters from providing identifying information to Housing and Urban Development, passed along with the rest of VAWA.


We told you a few weeks ago that the Senate has designated the week of February 6 – 10, 2006 as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week," passing the resolution by unanimous consent. S. Res. 275 calls on government, private organizations and public officials to promote activities in their communities that raise awareness about the high incidence of teen dating violence and prevention strategies. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) championed the measure. He said, "Teen dating violence – including physical, emotional, and sexual assault – is a reality for many American teenagers. Like drug abuse, it's a reality which many parents may miss." The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative is organizing an event in Washington, D.C. on February 6 to kick off the week.


Reports of websites that sell records of cell phone calls have been in the press for months, prompting action this week by lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission. But we want our CAEPV members to be especially aware of how this situation may impact victims of domestic violence.

Numerous websites have been advertising that they can provide records of incoming and outgoing cell phone calls--for less than $100, in some cases. That kind of information is often used by law enforcement agencies in their investigations. However, stalkers or abusive spouses could exploit the online availability of such data. In addition, some of these brokers will provide information locating those phone calls within 500 – 1000 feet. In cases of victims of domestic violence – this information could be deadly.

We want our CAEPV members to be aware of this situation when counseling employees about using wireless phones as part of safety planning. Using wireless phones for 911 calls is life-saving, but it is important to caution domestic violence victims regarding the potential for their wireless phone records and phone call locations to be tracked.

CAEPV Member Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless have both requested court orders against data brokers accused of obtaining the records through fraud. In addition, Verizon Wireless Call Center team members go through special training to detect such fraud. The Federal Communications Commission's enforcement bureau this week also said it's looking into companies that obtain telephone records without the customer's approval or knowledge. In addition, lawmakers on federal and state levels are introducing legislation to criminalize such activity, and several states are launching investigations into how the companies have obtained the records.


Cassie Pritchard

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