< back

February 18  Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I would like to congratulate these states and major cities who reported the lowest rates in domestic homicides of women in 1997 (2.50 per million or fewer). ILLINOIS, IOWA, MAINE MASSACHUSETTS, MINNESOTA, NEBRASKA, NORTH DAKOTA, OHIO RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT, WASHINGTON, AND WISCONSIN.  A hearty thank you to all of you who contributed to the reduction of domestic violence homicides. You are all angels.

The major cities (250,000 or more) that reported zero domestic homicides of women in 1995, 1996, OR 1997 are: ARLINGTON, TX, CINCINNATI, OH, CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, LOUISVILLE, KY, MESA, AZ, ST. PAUL, MN, TOLEDO, OH.


If you would like to see exactly how your state is doing according to the FBI (Supplemental Homicide Reports) you can go directly to our web site and find out. In a few weeks we will add more of the details from the book. Just click on www.silentwitness.net/results/us-map.html

And another hearty thank you to those who so generously wrote cover letters of endorsement for the Results book: Senator Paul Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone, Wyoming Attorney General Gay Woodhouse, Rep. Jim Ramstad (MN), MInneapolis' Police Chief Robert Olson, and the presidents of both the Jr. League International and the National Council of Jewish Women. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It means a great deal to us.

WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS: we now have more than 500 people on the newsletter mailing list. Thanks to all of you who so faithfully read the newsletter.

Diana Conan (Jr. League, San Francisco, new email address), Justine Freeman (Victim Advocate, Elyria, Ohio), Alison Coleman-Hardy (graduate student, social work, Boston), Beverly Runyan (St. Croix Advocates for Family Peace, Princeton, Maine), Leslie Fritchman (Training Coordinator, Idaho Council on Domestic Violence), Rebecca Marling (Women's TriCounty HELP Center, SE Ohio), Patricia Battin, Monica Sanchez Torres, Aleksandra Ajdanic, Caryn Wilde, Traci Wamberg-Lemm and four other women students in a Public Policy Master's Program at the Univ. of Minnesota.



Barbara Cappa sends us Kudos from Northern California (East Bay). She says: We are still getting the ladies up and running. I am currently trying to get them into hospital emergency rooms - waiting areas.  One of the hospitals in our area has started a domestic violence unit. This particular hospital is a HMO so we are hoping for exposure at all their locations. Yesterday a zero tolerance resolution was voted on by our supervisors - more money, personnel etc for domestic violence in Contra Costa County.

*Barbara, this is great news. Getting the Silent Witnesses into the medical world is a great idea.


The Attorney General's office from Florida called us this week and were so excited about the Results book that they promptly ordered nine more for their field victim advocates around the state.

*Thanks friends, for forwarding the book to the people who can make the most difference in moving this healing work ahead. We are very grateful.


Celia Heady writes from Idaho: We have hired a training coordinator - Leslie Fritchman.
Although only here a week, she is learning about many of the wonderful efforts many folks are making in the crime victim assistance field. Included in this will be the Silent Witness efforts, of course.  In time, Leslie will be able to help in Idaho's Silent Witness efforts.  Our goal is to double the places in Idaho where silent witnesses are present.  

*Welcome aboard Leslie. Wow, double the number of Silent Witness exhibits. That would bring Idaho right up there with the states who have the most Silent Witness exhibits. Go for it.


Sherriann Hamilton in Louisville, KY, formerly with the Center for Women and Families Domestic Violence Program, has a new job. She writes:  In my new position, part of my responsibility will be to provide training to all of our employees (and it's a state-wide organization) on Violence in the Workplace.  I am hoping to be able to use the Results Book and the Silent Witness figures as resources for that training.

*This could be a great opportunity to spread the ideas about prevention and healing farther than ever. Go for it Sherriann.


Some sad news from Fern Brown in Maryland:

I have some bad news. A very close friend of mine (we worked at the courthouse together, also have been friends for many years), Gayle Cooke, Victim Witness Coordinator for the State's Attorneys Office in Charles County was shot to death.  The funeral was Tuesday, February 1, 2000.  It is very hard for all who work at the courthouse and also in the community.  Rosemary and I have worked very hard on the Silent Witness Project for Charles County, Maryland and we are very proud of what we are doing for the community.  We also lost one of our Domestic Violence Victims in December,1999, Janice Lancaster.  Janice was shot to death by her husband, he then shot and killed himself.

*We are so saddened by this news, but maybe the community can have a special event in their honor


Rosalie Cannone McGill writes about a police case that could have been a stunning set back but was not, thank goodness.

Supreme Court of New Jersey in Wildoner v. The Borough of Ramsey, reaffirmed the protection from prosecution for police who respond to domestic violence cases.  Police in NJ have always enjoyed qualified immunity from lawsuit if they act reasonably when responding to calls.  In this case the police responded to a neighbor's call that reported a fight and threats by the
husband coming from the apartment next door.  They reported hearing the husband threaten to throw a knife at his wife.

The police arrived.  The wife had a bruise on her arm, there was a knife on the floor in the kitchen, and the wife reported her husband had been drinking.  Under the totality of the circumstances, the police made the arrest and charged the husband with simple assault.  The wife refused to prosecute, or give a statement, and sided with her husband who sued the
police force, the town and the individual officers on various counts of false arrest, negligence.

The Appellate Court allowed the case to go forward, saying the conflicting statements of the police and the plaintiffs was sufficient to allowing the charges to be heard on the merits.  This ruling had a definite chilling effect on police officers who feared civil liability for making arrests in domestic violence matters where the wife refuses to prosecute. The Supreme Court overturned the Appellate division saying: "We find that the failure of the victim and the alleged perpetrator to corroborate the allegations did not create a material issue of fact defeating probable cause."

*That was a close one. We need the police to be partners with us to help protect victims.


Renae Heustess writes us about activity in Gaston County, North Carolina:

We have put together an entire package of materials (posters, billboards, bookmarks, pencils,
balloons, 911 bags, ads on prescription bags to name a few) in our campaign to raise awareness and put an end to domestic violence in Gaston County.  

Your Silent Witness program was my first candlelight ceremony I helped with and it was the most moving, heart wrenching, tear raising experience of my life.  Not having ever suffered abuse, it was very difficult for me to understand, but since your Silent Witness program and the many other vigils we have had in Gaston County, I work along side other volunteers and Shelter staff to help in any way we can.

I just want to thank you for your contribution to stamp out domestic violence nationwide.  Someday, my dream is for none of us working in domestic violence related fields to have jobs -- there will be no more domestic violence.  But as we both know it has to stop with our children not being abused -- it has to stop before they become abusers themselves.  Someday.

I wrote this poem for a candlelight service involving the Silent Witnesses. Candles were extinguished as each name of those who died was read.  The service was heart wrenching.
They Lived ...   

 They lived and loved and
 laughed and cried.
 They hoped and dreamed and
 prayed and died.

Their precious breath once touched someone's life, Someone who knew of their pain and strife.
Many of them filled with fear day to day, Praying that help would soon come their way.
Some cared for their children as best they could, Wondering someday -- who would.

 They lived and loved and
 laughed and cried.
 They hoped and dreamed and
 prayed and died.

Others tried to work and live normal lives Looking over their shoulders for guns or knives.
Fear filled the biggest part of their day Each one hoping they would be okay.
The terror, the torment, the taunting they braved For all that was done, they could not be saved.

 They lived and loved and
 laughed and cried.
 They hoped and dreamed and
 prayed and died.

So keep their memories fresh in your mind And warm in your heart, for others to find.
Their memories will live in those who knew them, The light of their spirit never growing dim.
But the light of their living burns no more this day, And we must not forget how they were taken away.

 They lived and loved and
 laughed and cried.
 They hoped and dreamed and
 prayed and died.

*Thank you Renae. This is a wonderful tribute to the Silent Witnesses. Keep up the good work.


Candy McKinnon, from the Wome's TriCounty HELP Center called to say that they want to make a Silent Witness Exhibit for the ten counties of SE Ohio. This is wonderful news. Silent Witness exhibits are flourishing all over Ohio now. Please keep us posted on how this exhibit comes together.

Also, Dorothy Lemmey, who is writing a research proposal, wrote to say that her copy of Results had come and she was able to use some of the information in her proposal. Glad to be of help--and just in time to get the proposal in.

*Great news about yet another Ohio exhibit. And good luck on that research. We'll be looking forward to it, Dorothy.


Nancy Rafi, our SW Coordinator in RI, writes that they are "on the road" again:

We are gearing up to speak on the campus of Bryant College in March.  The President of the college and his wife are sponsoring the event, along with the women's studies center, so we are anticipating a large attendance.  Melanie and I are in the process of revamping our literature (with the RESULTS book included) and are gearing up for Women's History Month in March.  We're hoping to have the Witnesses seen throughout the state during March.

Also, we are garnering support to have Dr. Stosny come and speak in Rhode Island this spring/summer.  Hopefully we'll get someone interested in initiating the project here in RI.  Onward and upward!

I have the photo you sent us of our meeting in St. Louis on my desk at work and it reminds me daily that I am part of a bigger picture - and that there are others around the globe who are as
passionate as I am about 0 in 2010.

*Thanks Nancy, for reminding me that we are ALL part of a larger picture, one of healing around the globe. You are wonderful.


Sara Buel writes:
The State of Texas plans to execute 62-year old battered woman, Betty Lou Beets, on February 24th unless we take immediate action.  Ms. Beets has admitted to killing her very violent husband and is not seeking to be released, rather to have her death sentence reduced to life in prison.  Call Margaret LaMontagne, senior advisor to Governor Bush down in Texas at 512-463-2729 and let her know if you support clemency for Betty Beets.

*Thanks, Sara, for this heads up. Betty Lou deserves our support.


A survivor from Washington recently sent us this message and it was inspiring to us.

I was involved in an abusive relationship for over 7 years.  In the last two years, I married him, and then moved away from him.  I still have healing to do, yet am thinking of giving back to the community by perhaps volunteering. Thank you for having this sight (and site).  Thank you for existing.  Thank you for recognizing this problem, and taking it on.

*Thanks for this wonderful support. Keep going. Part of the healing is in giving back to the community.


An update on a friend: Jane Zeller has had a mastectomy and is recovering at home. She was pleased to get the words of support from those of you who wrote to her. We all wish her well in her recovery and hope that she is feeling much better soon. A flower arrangement was sent to her in all of your names. Thanks a lot for this support. She is such a strong Silent Witness supporter.



The Junior League has just published a wonderful manual on domestic violence showing the scope of the issue and letting the Jr. Leagues know how they can be more involved. They are sending out our Results book with theirs to all the Jr. League Presidents and the Public Policy Directors. This is a very exciting collaboration at the national level, since we have been working with so many state level Jr. Leagues for several years. Kirsten Jennings is the new person working on this effort at the New York Office. She was one of Silent Witness' March Coordinators so she is very familiar with Silent Witness and is a great liason. We are so grateful for this new venture.


The Peter Drucker Foundation has a new non-profit training program and materials that are bring rolled out nationwide. The program was produced to assist non-profits in planning, implementing and evaluating their programs. They are using Silent Witness as one example of a non-profit organization that sets ojective measurable goals and then works towards them, measuring the goals along the way. We are thrilled to be included in this wonderful material. If you would like to know more about the programs they offer, their web site is www.pfdf.org


The head of the new Peter Drucker Foundation non-profit series (mentioned above) spoke to the Directors of 75 of the largest United Way organizations last week and gave them each a copy of our Results book as an example of results oriented non-profit organizations. This is such a great indication of support for our work and we are so excited about what it says about all of you out there who are making all of this happen. Great work.


Gail Wiener wrote to ask us what is the best way to attach stories to the new plastic plaques on the Silent Witness figures. Any info is greatly appreciated since you all have experimented with several ways of doing this. Please contact Gail at GWIENB@aol.com


So far four states have requested that I come to help ignite their interest in the next stages of their Silent Witness work. I am so excited to be part of their ventures. These are the states who have invited me: Rhode Island, Montana, Illinois, and Wyoming. If you are in a state near these four and would like to be in on the meetings so you can bring back the excitement to your state, just let me know. We would like to include as many people in these meetings as possible and some states may not be ready to host a meeting of their own yet. Come on board. We'd love to have you.


Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime, according to a new report that looks at domestic violence worldwide.  Ending Violence Against Women: Population Reports, Series L, No. 11 - co-authored by Lori Heise; Mary Ellsberg, Lic. Med. Sci.; and Megan Gottemoeller, MPH, and  released by The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Center for Health and Gender Equity - finds that gender-based violence, including domestic violence, is a major public health concern and a violation of human rights. The report, a comprehensive look at domestic violence in countries around  the world, draws on research gathered in more than 2,000 studies.  It examines contributing factors for domestic violence, its effects on victims and their children, and strategies that can stop abuse.

I leave you today with more international flavor. These are the various ways that world religions present the Golden Rule.

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary." (Talmud, Dhabbot 31a)
"This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you" (Mahabharata3:1317)
"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."(Sunan)
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." (Udanavarga 5:18)
"Whatsoever you wish that others would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."  

And remember the Silent Witness principles of conflict; Listen, Respect, Negotiate, Honor Basic Principles, No Revenge. You are all examples of the Golden Rule in action. Be proud of that.



< back