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May 30, 2003

Dear Friends,
Your creativity continues to inspire me. In this issue a new DV Awareness Tree idea emerges along with a fund raising connection with motor cycle riders. Maybe we could have a Silent Witness presence in Sturgis, SD at the big Harley rally this summer! We heard from more college programs and a 17-year-old girl who just wrote to say how much she appreciates us. A Russian women's group joined the newsletter and we heard from the wonderful women activists in Pakistan this week. We are in dialogue with women in Mexico to start Silent Witness there. And it's not too early to start thinking about October events for Silent Witness.

And the Sheila Shawl project is amazing. Read the story of the Twinless twins group (twins who've lost a twin--some to DV) and the shawls that we are providing to them. The women who manage the apartment building I live in just learned to knit so they could contribute shawls and the are now oohing and aahing over every Sheila Shawl I get in the mail. Everyone has a gift to offer this Initiative and I'm happy to say, you are all offering your unique gifts. Bless you everyone.

Riverplace Apartments management (Stephanie, Breah, and Jamie Lea; friends, knitters for Silent Witness), Fran Clader (Public Affairs, Victim Compensation Board, Sacramento), David Calahan II (Family Advocacy Program Assistant, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma), Lori Traeger (Volunteer Services Coordinator, Coralville, IA), Christina Walsh (National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Austin, TX, new email address), Safehouse (Wyoming, new email address), Women's Safety and Resource Center (Coos County, new email address, new name), ANNA Center (Laurissa: Crisis center, legal assistance, training, counseling; Russia), Judy Schwartz (Student Program Develoment Specialist, Eastfield College, Mesquite, TX), Regina Rice (WISE: Women's Information Services, Lebanon, NH)

ATTENTION: If you are a mother, daughter, grandmother or sister of a woman or man who's been murdered in domestic violence and would like to receive a comforting hand made shawl to remind you of the care and love of others please contact me. We have shawls available and would love to give you one. If you know of other women who have a loved one who has been murdered in DV, let us know her name as well. We also have a limited number of scarves for men who are close relatives of murdered women. Thanks. Please pass this word along so the healing can move forward.

We also have quilts for kids whose mothers were murdered in acts of DV. To request a quilt for a kid contact Augusta Rodgers To send a quilt for a kid, please send to Augusta Rodgers Quilts for Kids c/o Women's Resource Center
77 East 5th Street Winona, MN 55987


Europe: Unifem cites UN report on inadequate protection of women.
Protection for women during conflict inadequate.

The standards of protection for women affected by conflict and the
international response to their situations are "glaring in their
inadequacy", says a report commissioned by the UN Development Fund For Women. The report, "Women, War and Peace: The Independent Experts' Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women's Role in Peace-building", found that while women are often specifically targeted during conflict, they do not receive what they need in emergencies.

They are also rarely included in peacekeeping initiatives and reconstruction efforts. To rectify this, gender experts should participate at all levels of peace operations, including technical surveys, training, staffing and programmes. It said that women organising at the grassroots level often lay the groundwork for organising across borders - in subregions and internationally. However, they are rarely included in formal negotiations, whether as members of political parties, civil society or special interest
groups. Nor are they present in representative numbers in post-conflict governments.

In addition to ensuring accountability to women within the justice system around the world, the report also called for the UN Secretary-General to appoint a panel of experts to assess the gaps in international and national laws and standards pertaining to the
protection of women during and after conflict.

*Great report. It shows how important it is for women's groups to be on the alert to things that impact women.

Fern Brown writes about shawls and motorcycles:

We, meaning Rosemary and myself are making plans for our October Silent Witness Program. I thought it would be very nice to give shawls to 9 different families (mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters) and two scarves for two fathers. Janet, all of them do not have to come from you, I am also going to contact others, especially here in the metropolitan area. Whatever you can send me would be most appreciated. If you need the names and a little bio of the victims and their family please let me know and I would be happy to send it to you.

The motorcycle program, Riding To Break The Cycle for the Charles County Silent Witness Project was a success. It was awesome to have so many riders for our first event. They were elated and excited to be a part of our program. The riders informed us that they would like to make this an annual event and next year there would be more riders.

I do hope that Rosemary and I will soon get the opportunity to come out to visit you within the next year. Have a blessed week. Thanks for all that you do to help our victims and survivors.

*I love the idea of including motor cycle riders in this fight against DV.
They can talk with their buddies so much better than we do. I remember when the California SW exhibits were all in Sacramento on the same weekend as the bikers and so many of the bikers were supportive and interested in helping us. Let's work on this connection. Anyone know anyone at Harley, Inc?

This note is from Rikki, in Brockton, MA:

I am a 17 yr. old girl and my mother, sister and I have just celebrated our 8 year anniversary from domestic violence. We lived with domestic violence for 6 years. I was too young to understand what was happening to me and my mother, but after going through 2 years of counseling I realized that I could have helped my mother. I went through an aggressive phase when I was about 12 years old because I completely hated myself for not doing anything when my mother needed help the most and it took me 2 more years to realize
that I was too young to help my mother against my step dad. What I am trying to get at is that I just wanted to let everyone at this web site know that I am really happy to find a web site that recognizes what millions of people go through and I just want to say THANK YOU for making it that much more easier for me to become more aware of my surroundings and for letting others know that domestic violence should not be tolerated. THANK YOU

*Isn't it great to see the wisdom of a 17-year-old stated so gracefully.

North Carolina:
A great domestic violence series focusing on the way in which DV cases are treated by the court system in NC appeared in last week's Sunday-Tuesday edition of the Raleigh News and Observer. Here is the web address, if it is still available. It was an outstanding, fair and troubling series and will get the attention of that community.

*Thanks to Sue Kinzie, another reporter from the News Observer, who forwarded this series to me. Nice job, reporters.

This note from Deidra Bennett, project coordinator, Women's Center, updating us on the Bowling Green State University campus:

I wanted to update you on the SW project in Bowling Green, Ohio at Bowling Green State University. Last October we introduced our first 13 witnesses in an unveiling ceremony on campus. This spring semester, we had a fabulous student intern who worked on the project and was able to design and publish a SW brochure, research for biographies, build figures, and coordinate displays at the Student Union in a very short amount of time (yea, Julia!)
She did an amazing job for us and we are going to miss her as she's going into the Peace Corps after graduation this summer. We now have a total of 17 witnesses representing victims from our little corner of Northwest Ohio, and we still have 5 more to be constructed! The impact of the SW exhibit has been amazing. We are looking forward to planning events for next fall.

*Great work Deidra, Julie and company. What an amazing feat, 17 Witnesses for your campus. Keep up the good work.

This note and wonderful idea comes from David Carnahan II, Family Advocacy Program Assistant at Fort Sill, Oklahoma:
Annual Victim Awareness Tree Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Two years ago domestic violence prevention month plans were being worked on, and the team wanted something the public could be involved in that would increase awareness. I don't remember exactly how the idea of a tree came up, but it did. Trees have long been a symbol of life, and victims survive many trials making them stronger for the life that lies ahead of them. Next thing we knew we had an idea the team liked. The idea is to have a tree placed in a public place during the entire month so that purple ribbons can be hung on it. The ribbons are distributed as widely as possible throughout the community along with information cards. On each card is an explanation of the tree and instructions that if the person reading it knows anyone that is or has been a victim of domestic violence to place the ribbon on the tree. Also on the card are phone numbers for the local and national hotlines, law enforcement and a few other local resources.

We realized that not everyone would want to publicly place a ribbon on the tree, so the ribbons are placed at 10 other locations with receptacles they can be dropped in and collected by staff to be placed on the tree for those individuals. A useful piece of information can also be ascertained through the use of the tree. If the number of ribbons distributed is known, then a return rate can be established based on the number of ribbons placed on the tree. So for example, if 1000 ribbons are distributed and 200 are hanging on the tree at the end of the month, 20% of the people who took or received
a ribbon knows someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. At the end of the month a live tree is purchased and planted locally with a placard designating its purpose.

*This is a great idea, David. I hope a lot of states take this one on and
replicate it in October or any time. Thanks for your good work.

Greetings from Nasir Nayyer, from the Social Harmony and Development Organization in Sialkot, Pakistan:

You would be glad to know that SHADO has arranged various programs to raise the awareness against the Domestic violence against women. These programs include seminars on "Women Rights Awareness", printing of Posters, Brochures and Handbills, highlighting the basic women's rights. Through these programs we will be able to minimize the violation of women rights in our society. These programs will be conducted very soon and complete report of these programs will be sent to you.

We hope that together we will eradicate the violence, prejudice, hatred and discrimination from our world and make this a place full of love, peace and harmony. Yours Sincerely, Nasir Nayyer

*It is so good to hear from you, Nasir, and sense your powerful and
wonderful work in Pakistan. Know that we are supporting you all the way.

Rhode Island:
A note from Nancy Rafi, our national coordinator and all around action person:

I am putting together a NE regional conference for SW in August here in RI. I have emailed 10 states on the east coast about participation and have built a core group of 7 to work on the project. Target date for the conference will be 7 & 8 August in Newport, RI - have the conference room booked & a block of 10 rooms at a $99/night rate available (unheard of rate for that time of year!). Anyhow, it's still in the early planning stages. We're looking to have someone from each of the 10 states come to talk about
what they've been doing with SW in their states, and we can put together a regional newsletter that can be replicated in the others parts of the country.

*Wonderful, wonderful. I love regional cooperation. And that region has a lot of energy these days. Go for it.


Thank you from coworkers: Janet, thanks to your program for the shawls for our friend Joyce, whose daughter and our coworker (Shar) died as a result of domestic violence, and Shar's daughter. We donated the extra shawl for Shar's coworkers to her sister. We all appreciated the shawls very much as a tangible way of comforting her family for their shock and grief following Shar's death. Thanks again. Spruce Woods Apartments staff. Thank you from a recipient in a small rural town:
I received my Sheila Shawl today. You had knit mine. I want to thank you so very much. This will be very comforting to me. When my sister was murdered by her husband in March 2002 I started sleeping with a care bear that my parents had given me as a child. It made me feel safe. I know it may sound crazy. I am 30 yrs old and sleeping with a care bear. I will use this shawl instead of my care bear. It is really amazing that there are people in this world that are so kind and generous. I truly want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely, Karla L

Thank you from Lousisana: I had a shawl sent to me by a friend who turned my name in. The person who made my shawl was Becka Brackett, Mpls, MN. I want to say thinks from the bottom of my heart. I am a victim of domestic violence. I was beaten by my husband in 1973. As a result of the beating I had two types of seizures, memory and comprehension problems from the brain injury. I am 53 and I was 23 at that time. I also lost my baby boy two weeks before delivery. I am so thankful for this shawl. Each time I look at it I see LOVE and feel LOVE. Thank you so much. God bless you all for all you are
doing to stop this domestic violence.

Thank you from Minnesota:
Thank you for the beautiful shawl. The day I received the shawl, my
grandsons ages 10 & 11 (whom we finally got custody of after a year long battle) asked what it was for. I explained how to wear it or just to hold it when having a hard or bad day. They both started to argue over who was going to hold it that night. It definitely has a calming effect, they hold the shawl and sit or lay perfectly still. Maybe they feel their mothers love and affection coming through the softness of the shawl. Thank you again, Brenda J mother to Krista who was murdered by her husband March 24, 2002. (Note: we're planning to get quilts for the boys too)

The Story of a DV Homicide Victim in Chicago: Cathy Bradley and her father Henry Woods Jr. were murdered in their home on April 24th, 2003 by her boyfriend. Southwest Women Working Together, a community-based women's organization where Cathy was an active participant for the past three years, honored Cathy at their annual Take Back the Night march and rally on May 1, 2003. Only a week after the tragic loss of her mother and grandfather, Cathy's daughter, Qianesha Vallot, together with her brother Jimi Bradley, spoke in front of over 250 community members at the rally about her great loss. Qianesha was very brave, and we are grateful and proud to have the opportunity to honor her and her aunt Jovan Woods each
with beautiful shawls. We will remember Cathy and hold a place for her in our hearts always.

In memory of a homicide victim in MN:
Nancy J was a 42-year-old Certified Nurse's Aid who devoted her life to taking care of the elderly. Her life was taken by the man she trusted to be her partner on October 1, 2001. His trial for her murder begins July 14, 2003. She is deeply missed and will never be forgotten." A Note from a SW activist in Missouri: Thank you for the wonderful newsletter every month. I always read them, even if it takes me a week or so to complete. This month's newsletter contains a story about a woman, Krista, from MN, who was murdered on March 24, 2002, by her husband. I was particularly struck by the fact that she leaves behind an identical twin sister, Karla. I, too, have an identical twin sister, and I cannot imagine losing her so tragically. Twins share a special bond with one another. Identical twins share a bond that seems almost like each is a part of the other's body and mind. Because of our similar backgrounds, I feel drawn to Karla, and I would like to knit her a scarf. Recently, I began knitting colorful scarves with the new, fun yarns that have just started showing up
at the knit shops here in St. Louis. I have truly enjoyed creating
something from scratch, which is a new venture for me. (I am a beginner 'knitter', so I cannot follow patterns or knit anything as large as a shawl, but I have learned to knit these colorful, fun scarves that you see everyone wearing lately.) From the beginning, I wanted to be able to knit the scarves well enough to give them away to individuals and organizations. It would be an honor to give my first donated scarf to Karla. May I ask you to help me arrange to send the scarf, upon completion, to her? Love, Sally K

Follow up on the Twin mentioned above:
Hi again. I am in a twinless twins group and there are 2 people that I
would love to have a shawl. I thought it would be some comfort to them like it has been for me. Yes one of the twins did lose their twin to domestic violence. The circumstance in this situation is different than mine. I will share with you what happened. Tina is who I talk to. Her twin sister was murdered by her husband. The husband shot and killed Terri (Tina's twin), their 6 yr old son, and himself. She has been great a help to me in understanding the feelings that I am going through right now. She has gone through them herself and I thought that a shawl would bring her much comfort like mine has given to me. Again I want to thank you and everyone who puts their hearts and love into these shawls. My twinless twins will love them.
I know for myself it gives me great comfort. I sleep with the shawl every single night. I truly appreciate all the time and effort all of you put into making these shawls.

Oklahoma gives Shawl at billboard opening: Karen Hill writes that they are planning to give a shawl to the grandmother of a DV homicide victim. The victims name was Jody Lynch, G'ma's name is Ruth. Jody was beaten and her abuser hit her so hard in the chest that her heart burst. She had 2 children who witnessed the incident. Thank you for this project. We will present the shawl to G'ma at our kick off for our DV bill boards project.

Note from an activist in Tacoma, following the death of Crystal Brame, wife of the chief of police: Crystal's God Mother has been speaking at local gatherings for the family. We as women and volunteers have been rallying for a change within the system of the city council with regard to a special reporting agency for women of officers and public officials. They need extra protection because of the stature of their mates. We are working diligently on what is called the Crystal Clear Act. Today we bury Crystal and speak out at the local park against DV with many organizations in support of changes. I am writing you today because of your offering of shawls for loved ones whom have lost a daughter, mother or relative from DV.

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