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March 23, 2001


Dear Friends, 

I am back from an exhilerating week in Washington. I attended the National Council of Jewish Women's Washington Institute, an advocacy training program. The national leaders of NCJW told me that Silent Witness is very important to them and they honored Silent Witness with a wonderful grassroots leadership award. I got a chance to meet with the NCJW Silent Witness activists and also others from other Silent Witness groups who drove or flew in from New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Maryland. It was a very moving experience for me and helped me see AGAIN what role we play on the national scene. I was exhilerated by the strength of our ties to each other and with the passion within our network. More on this later in this newsletter. 

Today I highlight the Owning Up Program, one of our Results Projects, and the teen survey from Empower, Inc, started by Rosalind Wiseman. This is a proven training program for adolescents and would be perfect for SW activists to teach in the community or sponsor training for others to teach in their community. 

Heather Brantner, Marti Wellendorf (Shelter with new SW Exhibit in Mansfield, OH), Shelly Chiapetta (NCJW, Shalom Outreach Services, St. Paul, MN), Barbara Holzmark (NCJW, Kansas City, KS section), Judi Gross (NCJW Scottsdale, AZ section), Rosalynn Whitehead (Advocate, Columbia MD), Marilyn Kopelman (NCJW Denver, CO section), Jane Desberg (NCJW Sharon, Massachusetts section), Florence Herrmann (NCJW Public Affairs VP, Michigan), Nonie Vonnegut-Gabovitch (NCJW Indianpolis section), Julia Craven (sister of DV homicide victim), Claudia Rind (NCJW, Roca Delray section), Jenny Gardner (NCJW Chicago section) 


This note from Kate Burke, the leader of a new web effort: 

UKFemNet was founded at a meeting on January 5, 2001, chaired by Kate Burke, editor of AVIVA: Women's World-Wide Web. The meeting agreed that UKFemNet should be an e-mail network for UK feminists, who are working for equality for women. It is primarily a women's rights information exchange network, on UK and International issues, promoting rights from a feminist perspective. 

A list has been created in e-groups for the use of this network. Group name: UKFemNet To subscribe to the list send a message with no subject or body text to: UKFemNet-subscribe@egroups.co.uk 

*We are excited about this new network in Europe. It is thrilling to link 
hands with women around the world. The best to you. 

Judy Nelson of the Junior League of St. Paul sends us this update: 

The Junior League of Saint Paul, Inc. will be hosting our 3rd Annual Domestic Violence Public Awareness Day at the Mall of America. The event will be held on Saturday April 7, from 9AM - 3PM, in Macys Court. We will have many of the witnesses form around the state, including the original exhibit. We will have various community groups who work with victims of domestic violence there. 

*Thanks Judy for this ongoing activity at the Mall, one of the most visited shopping centers in the country. It is awesome to see the Witnesses out in the court in front of Macy's. Let us know what happens. 

Rosemary Raiman (who I got to meet in Washington last week) sends us this sad but powerful note: 

We held a ceremony today at our county courthouse with a silent witness silhouette that was given in honor of one of our own. Gayle A. Cooke, had been at the courthouse for approx.. 15 years working as a victim witness advocate and was lost to domestic violence in January 2000. She was shot by her daughter's boyfriend. We all are still in the process of healing and this time for colleagues and family to remember and honor her was very much needed. I will send you a program in the mail, as I think you would like to see it. Congratulation again and keep up the great work. 

*Rosemary, this must be so hard for your group to do but the healing must also be powerful. Thank you for honoring a colleague in this way. 

Patrick O'Donnell sent us great letters from folks around the country who are using the video training program that Patrick and his wife put together called City of Shelter. It is training that teaches community agencies involved in DV (police, advocates, probation, courts) how to most effectively work together on investigation and on court proceedings to reduce DV in their community. These letters are glowing recommendations written by a wide variety of practitioners about that training program. Currently the training series is being used in twenty-one states and in three other countries. 

*Thanks Patrick. This is absolutely wonderful. I plan to highlight 
Coordinated Community Response in the next newsletter so I will detail this program. 


Highlights of the Washington Silent Witness happenings: 

In Washington I had the privilege of meeting with many Silent Witness activists from several states. We talked about what they have done (LOTS), what they are currently doing (LOTS) and what their plans are for the future. Here is a quick listing of these wonderful people: 

Stephanie Lighter and Claudia Rind: Boca Delray Section of NCJW. Patty Cohen-Hecht of the Connecticut NCJW Section Cindy Wolfson of the Chicago NCJW Section Nanci Bobrow and Sally Katzif of the St. Louis NCJW Section Pat Lupson who is an activist in Maryland. I talked with Pat on the phone because she was sick and could not make it to the brunch 

Ann Zousner who is the NCJW domestic violence liason with NCJW nationally, led a session on DV within the Jewish community. I attended that session at the Institute and enjoyed it immensely. 

Jo Manson and her colleagues of the Virginia Zonta organization. We met at the Austin Grill for a great dinner and fundraiser. There at the door was a Silent Witness figure. It was so heartening to see a familiar image. Several of Jo's colleagues were there; Cindy Demitros, Pat Eyer, Kianoush Alem, Carolyn Buttolph and several others who we didn't get a chance to meet. A special thanks to two of the members, Cindy and Kianoush who picked us up at our hotel and took us to the dinner. Several NCJW Chicago Section members attended the dinner as well, Cindy Wolfson,Shirlee Goldman-Herzog, Jenny Gardner, Rae Luskin and Stephanie Victor. 

I met with Rosalynn Whitehead, a new friend who is looking forward to connecting with people in the Maryland area and getting involved with Silent Witness. She is passionate about DV and is ready to put her energy to work. 

At the NCJW Awards brunch I was excited to meet Fern Brown and Rosemary Raiman who drove in from Maryland. Also our great friends Nancy Rafi and Melanie Martin flew in from Rhode Island. Monica Blaizgis flew in from New York to join us and she and Melanie drove off to help a college in Baltimore start a SW exhibit on their campus. My 75 year-old friend from Minnesota, Katherine Nicolay attended the brunch as well as was elated to meet all these angels. 

The Awards brunch was an opportunity to hear from three other women activists who are doing amazing things in this country and who are role models for all of us; Nancy Amidei, Director of the Civic Engagement Project, Donna Dees-Thomases, Founder of the Million Mom March, and Cecile Richards, Founder of the Texas Freedom Network. I was deeply honored to be in their company. A most sincere thank you to NCJW for honoring Silent Witness in this way. 

It was so exciting to be in Washington and to talk with our activists about next steps for their cities and states. We are on the go and there is passion everywhere. Stay tuned for the results. And thank you all for all your hard work on behalf of the Silent Witnesses and the women they represent. 

Lois Herman sent us this note about her travels: 

When I go to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva in April, I will also be meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur On Violence Against Women. I know you sent her full information on Silent Witness. I will talk to her again about Silent Witness, and about how well it can be adapted to any culture, country, location. I will take with me, another SW video and the books. 

*Thanks, Lois for your worldwide reach on behalf of Silent Witness. We 
really appreciate it. 

Conference on Men's Rights, Roles and Responsibilities In Ending Men's Violence Against Women 

March 29-31, 2001 Atlanta Friends Meeting House 710 W. Howard Avenue Decatur, Georgia 

As more and more men are called to take responsibility for creating safer families and communities some join as allies to women, others as adversaries, claiming victimization by battered women and their advocates. The two-day workshop will focus on how men working to end violence against women can expand our alliances with mainstream men while engaging or stepping up our challenges to those men who are working to undermine mission of safety and justice for battered women. 

The goal of this institute is to engage men in raising their consciousness about their roles and responsibilities as fathers, teachers, coaches, husbands, brothers, friends, employers, employees, etc., in ending men's violence against women. Men will critically examine their resistance, challenges and successes in challenging other men to respect women. 

Two-day workshop: $200 for registration postmarked by March 8th, $250 thereafter. Includes training materials lunch and snacks For more information contact: Men Stopping Violence | 1020 De Kalb Avenue | Suite 25 Atlanta, GA 30307 | (404) 688-1376 | FAX: (404) 688-4021 


These are the cities who have ordered Court Watch materials from Connie Fox and Diane Graeter, our Court Watch mentors in Louisville, KY. If you live near one of these cities you may want to get involved in Court Watch there. 

Chippewa Falls, WI, San Luis Obispo county, CA, Cayman Islands, BWI, Denver, CO, Ann Arbor, MI, charleston, IL, St. Petersburg, FL, Columbus, OH, San Antonio, TX, San Francisco, CA, Indianapolis, IN, Cheyenne, WY, Beaverton, OR, Hardwick, VT, Shreveport, LA, Waynesville, NC, Reno, NV, Golden, Co, Taos, NM, Pittspurg, PA, Atlanta, GA, Winfield, WV, San Diego, CA, Sacramento, CA, Seminola county, FL, austin, TX, Kansas City, KS, Naples, FL, De Kalb County, GA, Richmond, VA, Baton rouge, LA, coeur D'Aleve, ID, Kent, WV, Muncie, IN. If you would like to know which group ordered the material just email Connie at conniefbm@aol.com 


Training is available for Judges working on DV cases. The training is sponsored jointly by the National council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. The cities are Sante Fe, NM, May 6-9, 2001, Boston, MA, June 28-30,2001, San Francisco, CA, Sept. 9-12, 2001, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 9-12, 2001, Sante Fe, NM, Feb. 10-13, 2002. Registration 775-784-1662 or on line at www.nationalcouncilfvd.org 

Michelle Hoersch of the Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent us their 2001 Women's Health day planner. It is very interesting and informative. If you are interested in information of a vast array of women's health concerns, visit their web site at www.4women.gov We appreciate the day planner and wish Michelle well in all of her efforts. 


Owning Up for Girls and Boys, ages 10-18: 

Owning Up teaches children to understand their personal choices and behavior in relation to their social networks and gender violence. Owning Up gives children the skills and strategies they need to make healthy, safe, and ethical choices. 

The program covers cliques, exclusivity, and reputations; same-sex bullying; sexual harassment; the differences between consent, sexual assault and dating violence and the difference between self defense and perpetration of assault. 

Empower, the parent organization for Owning UP, is a non-profit organization in Washington DC. Empowerıs research shows results in changing girlsı behavior regarding boundaries, treatment of other girls, and grade enhancement. It indicates that as a result of this program, girls' self image grows, boundaries become clear, test scores rise, and anti-girl behaviors (gossip-backbiting) decrease. The program was developed by Rosalind Wiseman. 

Silent Witness Mentor: Rosalind Wiseman 202-882-2800 empower@empowered.org Rosalind has a book coming out this spring called Queen Bees and Wanna Bees. Watch for it. 

A Discussion of the Principles behind Owning Up. 

Why would you want to be involved with the Owning Up program? Here is a summary of Rosalind's own words as she spoke to a group of DV leaders recently. 

Her emphasis is on social hierarchy and young teenagers. According to Rosalind, who works with 4,000 children per year, there is a specific connection between how boys and girls interact with each other. She asked everyone in the room to think about the first person they fell in love with (e.g. "What were you wearing? What drew you to that person?"] She said we must be willing remember what it was like to be a teen and to ask ourselves that same questions we ask teenagers. To be able to reach out to them, we must validate their feelings. 

As an example, boys want to do the right thing--to intervene in situations to help a female friend who is involved in a violent relationship. Boys are open and want to hear about the issue and what to do. They need to learn just how to intervene and when to intervene and where to go for help. One issue that is difficult for the girls is that they see issues as "Life and death." (e.g. A girl who just broke up with her boyfriend would likely say "I'll never have another boyfriend again." Girls need to learn survival 

Why don't boys and girls speak out about witnessing abusive behavior? They don't want to be "out of the box" or unlike other teens. It is very important to teenagers that they fit in with their peers by exhibiting behaviors and characteristics deemed acceptable or cool. Social hierarchy is very important. 

When teens are asked why adults have a hard time reaching out to them and communicating with them, most answer--the freak-out factor. A parent's desire to protect sometimes gets in the way of good parenting. Parents need to recognize when teenagers have something they need to talk to them about (certain body language, a child being unusually attentive to the parent etc). If parents give their teens "permission" to make mistakes, it will leave the door open for the teens to talk to the parent--it may not be right away, but it lessens the risk of confiding in the parent. 

Rosalind states that the goal of the program is to help teens develop more social comptence and the by-product is self esteem. The program has shown results in the increase in standardized test scores, which suggests that when social competence is present teens can be more focused on school. 

Teenage dating violence survey results from Empower and Liz Claiborne: 

The national survey of 477 teens ages 14-17 and 456 parents of teens was conducted December 4-14, 2000. Here are some startling results. 

*Nearly one quarter of teenagers (24%) know at least one student at their school who was physically struck by a person they were dating. 

*Among this group, 11% know multiple victims of dating violence 

*30% of these have actually witnesses such an event 

The survey also examined other social impacts of teen dating violence, 
including social control. Findings included: 

*27% know students in relationships where one member of the couple separates the other from their group of friends 

*22% know students who are dating someone who frequently requires them to "check in" 

*One in ten knows someone in a dating situation where one member of the couple tells the other what clothes to wear 

These findings are even more troubling given that while parents have some awareness of other teen behaviors like verbal insults and attempts at intimidation, only 8% of parents know of any students at their child's school who have been physically struck by someone they were dating. 

Last year Liz Claiborne created a free educational handbook for teens entitled, "What You Need to Know about Dating Violence: A Teen's Handbook." Written in collaboration with experts on gender violence prevention and teens across the country, the free handbook is available via a toll-free phone number 1-800-499-STOP The content is also available on line at www.loveisnotabuse.com and at www.lizclaiborne.com Teens from Missouri who are daughters of the Silent Witness organizers there were part of the team of teens who participated in the writing of this book. 

Let's get Owning Up programs going in every middle school and high school in the country!! 

I leave you today with a quote that Sally Katzif gave me recently. It was inspiring to me and I hope it will be for you. 

"Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise; risking more than others think is safe; dreaming more than others think is practical; and expecting more than others think is possible." 

Author Unknown 





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