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May 25, 2001

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day is just around the corner.  Let's remember all of our veterans, family members and Silent Witnesses who have died. Let us honor their memories. If you do not go to an event, please stop for five minutes this weekend and renew your Silent Witness pledge:

"In the name of the Silent Witnesses, I pledge to heal abuse of any kind in my own life, in my family, and in my community. I will work to make this country free of domestic violence so we can live in peace."

In this newsletter I highlight another of our Results Projects, the Mississippi Model. Read about it and think about how you can get this model going within churches in your city. We thank the developers of this model and wish them well.



NEW EMAIL FOR JANET:   jhagberg@mn.rr.com
NEW ADDRESS FOR SILENT WITNESS:  20 Second Street NE  Suite 1101
                                                             Minneapolis, MN 55413
                                                             ph: 612-623-0999



WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESONDENTS:
Susan Fuller (SW coordinator, Maine, new email address), Alishia McDonald (Attorney NW Florida Legal Services; student in educational leadership) Laura Davis (Sexual Assault Coordinator, Battered Persons' Advocacy, Roseburg, OR)
.

NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:

ILLINOIS:

This announcement from Michelle Hoersch, from the Office on Women's Health:

The reason I am writing is to tell you about an event I am planning in San Antonio, TX  July 26-28, 2001. The event is the Young Women's Health Summit. Between 80-100 young women ages 12-22 will participate in the event. These young women will be from 15 states in the central U.S.  The Summit will address a vast array of topics, not the least of which relationship and  intimate partner violence.  I am planning to have a few of the witnesses there.

*Thanks for thinking of Silent witness for this event Michelle. We love that collaboration. And the best to you on your summit.


ALERT: GREAT IDEA HERE: 

This note from Cindy Wolfson, who has just hatched a good idea for coordinating the people in her state who are involved with Silent Witness; start a state SW email network. Here is part of the note she is sending out. Perhaps it will give others inspiration to do the same.

Dear Friends:
I am starting an informal line of communication among people in Illinois who  are interested in or working with the Silent Witness Initiative(SWI). I know some of you already, while others were referred to me by Janet Hagberg, the National Coordinator of Silent Witness.  Since we are all working to reduce domestic violence in Illinois, perhaps we could share our ideas and  resources. Although I am particularly interested in projects that produce  results and in promoting the Silent Witness Exhibit, I welcome other input that might be of interest to you.  For instance, if you are planning a workshop in your area, there may be others in the state who would participate if travel were within a manageable distance.  If you will send me information about what you are doing, I will make it available to all in periodic e-mails, similar to the national SWI, but localized or state-wide.

And Cindy also sent a follow up that shows how quickly her networking idea worked:

I did get a reply from my first Illinois Alliance e-mail from David Nybakke, who told me the governor's commission on women is looking for court watch programs.  I'll send them the info about ours. The alliance is already working!!  We're about ready to send out the brochure for Rose Mary Boerboom's Self Mastery training. She will be at the court house in Skokie for a one-day training on Self-Mastery on July  26.

*All of this news is so heartening. It makes me so grateful for all of your creativity. Keep those fresh ideas coming. We need to get to 0 domestic homicides. Let's go for it.


MAINE:

This great note from Susan Fuller, our SW coordinator in Maine:

A silhouette representing Tina Cousins, one of our very tragic losses here in Maine is currently on its way to Brazil.  We have agreed to loan, possibly leave, her silhouette and one of our signs with folks there.  The connection began with a business connection; each US state has a partnering state elsewhere in another country.  It just so happens that one of the programs within the state that we connected on was domestic abuse.  And one thing has led to another as it always does and now one of our silhouettes is on a ship headed for Brazil.  I wanted to offer the Silent Witness National Initiative connection to folks there and will offer them this website address.  I will also pass their contact info on to you when I have it.

Wayland Lindscott, our second coordinator in Maine, had all but the Brazilian travelling silhouette in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada last week for a 3day conference where Peter Jaffe and others presented.  Wayland was very excited about all that the conference offered.  And the folks in New Brunswick are working on creating their own exhibit.  We have offered any wisdom we have gained from experiences and I have given them national information.  They already have a place which currently exhibits domestic abuse artwork that has offered to exhibit their silhouettes when they are completed.  They have decided from the get go that they want them on exhibit at all times.  It sounds like this place would also be responsible for the transport of the silhouettes when they were requested elsewhere.  Wow! what an awesome support system that would be.  Our Maine Silent Witness Project is now at 40 count and so they are constantly being moved back and forth from event to event.


*Another generous state giving a SW figure to another country. And wouldn't you know it would be Susan who did it. What a wonderful thing to do, and so like the Silent Witness network! And having Wayland's involved is great news. As you'll see from this newsletter one of the themes is men involved with Silent Witness. Yes, is all I have to say to that!
MASSACHUSETTS:
Update from MA, from Nancy Carolyn Kwant, Public Information Campaign Director for Peace at Home:

Peace at Home has given its twenty-six witnesses a fresh coat of paint and has had them on the road all over Massachusetts.  They were featured at our youth team's, Leadership Development Day, at the Alliance for Action Conference in New Bedford, MA, at the Massachusetts Victims Rights Conference and the Massachusetts Colleges Take Back the Night Rally in Boston, MA, at the Sixth Annual Statewide Domestic Violence Conference in Falmouth, MA, and at Peace at Home's First Annual Open House in Jamaica Plain, MA.  Many attendees at these events have commented on how "moving" the exhibit is and how it was the "finishing touch" in making the event or conference complete.  

Peace at Home is planning on having male and child figures made and we recently signed up a volunteer to sew protective covers for each of the witnesses.  We are currently working on getting the material and thread
donated, not to mention a multi-passenger van which would certainly help in transporting them from place to place.  We are also working on a campaign to have local businesses display the exhibit in their restaurant, store, etc for week long periods.  We are also working on getting them displayed in a local
art gallery with original works picturing "peaceful partnerships."  We plan to post the exhibits upcoming event locations on our website, so be sure and check us out for Silent Witness information and other information on Peace at Home at www.peaceathome.org.  

I also wanted to mention that Peace at Home has its latest version of our handbook, Domestic Violence:  The Facts.  We offer a sliding scale fee and specialized printings of the handbook are available for your organization.  We also recently did a re-printing of our report:  Homicides Related to Intimate Partner Violence in Massachusetts 1991-1995.  Both can be viewed on our website and are available to be ordered.  We are currently meeting with other DV organizations to compile another report which will include the years
1996-2000.  For questions or more information, check out the website or e-mail us at peaceathme@aol.com.
*All this activity in Mass is just wonderful. We're elated. The SW are the most full-time tireless workers I've ever seen. Much to cheer about from Mass. Keep up the good work and thanks for keeping us informed.
MINNESOTA:
This note from Susan Peterson of Northfield Minnesota:

Well, this shows you how behind I am!   We are deep into the work of the Rice County Family Violence Task Force.  We are working with Allina, and Center for Reducing Rural Violence.  I am on the Board of WomanSafe and we have exciting news in that we have hired Doug Larsen, former United Way Director in Northfield as our first every Executive Director.  The team leadership that has been in place, can now focus on delivering direct services, which is what they wish to do.  We are blessed to have the energy and positive male presence to engage other men who wish to ban together to break the cycle of violence.

*Yes, more male energy involved with Silent Witness. We are graced to be able to work with wonderful men. And thanks for all the updates Susan.  


OHIO:
This note from our newest college campus initiative:
My name is Deidra Bennett, and I am the new victim advocate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.  I am working out of the Women's Center with the Transformation Project which is funded by DOJ's Violence Against Women grant for universities.  It is a brand new program and I am really excited to be a part of the implementation as BGSU has never had victim services on campus before.  I have only been here a month and a half and I have already spoken to nine women who have been victims of violence.  I think I'm going to be very busy! I'm very interested in getting Silent Witnesses for the BGSU community.  I've worked in Toledo for several years and have seen displays at
several different agencies and I know how powerful they can be.  I'm hoping to have a class work on it as their project in the fall, and I've already ordered the work booklet that the initiative publishes.

*Welcome Deidra. I'm so glad you got connected with our two college program mentors. And we'll look forward to hearing from you about the events you plan to debut the Witnesses.  More power to you.
RHODE ISLAND:
Nancy Rafi in RI fills us in on the latest there:

The Witnesses were at the Million Mom March on Mother's Day last weekend, and I spoke right after Rep. Patrick Kennedy.  People were really moved as I told the RI stories, and we had a lot of discussion at our booth afterwards.  But the thing I'm most excited about is that we now have a young man who is part of our program.  He is 31 years old, his girlfriend Dale has just joined us (after hearing us speak on the campus of Providence College a few years ago, she knew she wanted to get involved on a deeper level and joined us about 4 months ago), and he can't wait to get going.  He has had "no personal connection to DV murders.....except that his next door neighbor (when he was 9 years old) murdered his wife."

*Nancy, this is wonderful. Our third report this week about the involvement of men. We need all the men we can get to work with us and his energy will be just that thing to get other men involved. I would say having your next door neighbor killed is being somewhat personally connected!!


VIRGINIA:
Jo Manson keeps us up to date on Virginia:

Our Domestic Violence initiative committee is going strong.  Today we delivered 100 bears to the CASA Program (Count Appointed Special Advocates).  They will use the bears to give to the abused children going through the court system.  I know this is a very traumatic time for them and what better time to have a soft bear with you.  We get the bears from Good Bears of the World and we have distributed the bears to the women and children at the shelter, to the victims of domestic violence, abuse, and sexual assault as part of the Victim Services Department in the Fairfax County Police Department, and to the senior citizens at the Falls Church Sunrise Assisted Living Center.  

We are going to make many more Silent Witness figures for next year. And we raised over $940 dollars that night at the Austin Grill Fund Raiser.

*Thanks Jo, and what good news to hear that you are going to make a complete set of Silent Witnesses for Virginia. Congratulations on the fund raiser. It was easy, we just all came to eat with you!!


NEWS FROM SILENT WITNESS WORLDWIDE:

BOOK FOR SURVIVORS:
Some abused women may not even be aware that they are being abused. "This book has sparked off thoughts and brought to the surface what is really happening to me," said one reader. "This book is riveting!" said another.

"Why Doesn't She Just Leave?" is a journal of a woman in an abusive relationship. This fascinating, inspiring, and informative work chronicles her thoughts, feelings, and experiences, as she struggles towards eventual freedom.

For more information, please visit http://home.aol.com/lm330322  You may also contact me at lm330322@aol.com    Lisa Moss


RESULTS PROJECT #5
THE MISSISSIPPI MODEL: Preparing our Sons for Manhood
Involves the church in the prevention of the alienation of African American adolescent males

Issues:

*Lack of church involvement in domestic violence prevention
*Alienation of African American  adolescent males

Results:

98% of the 200 young men that entered this program completed it successfully.
They became more aware of the issues of domestic violence, the dangers of pre-marital
sex, and experienced an increase in self-esteem and in relationship bonding.


Mission of the Mississippi Model:

Our House, Inc. is dedicated to offering various means for people to achieve violence free living; one of their primary activities is dedicated to reaching out to young people with
education and mentoring.

Description:
Preparing Our Sons For Manhood is a  project based on the time -honored traditions in the African - American Community.  The original idea for the project was developed by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.   Our House, Inc. In conjunction with New Life Church, Inc.  adapted the nine principles established by Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority for their program.  Those principles are (1) Love: (2) Respect; (3) Responsibility; (4) Guidance; (5) Spirituality; (6) Education; (7) Sexuality; (8) Health and Hygiene; and (9)Financial Advice.   

Our House  incorporated the principals into our Salvaging the Seeds Program for youth. The Salvaging the Seed Program deals with the prevention of child sexual abuse, dating violence,  encouraging abstinence in our males and educating our youth on the dangers of pre-martial sex..  We hope by joining these two key projects together  we can meet the needs of the young males in their communities.

Therefore, Our House established "Preparing Our Sons For Manhood: Salvaging The Seeds" program to improve the self awareness of adolescent males in exhibiting appropriate (non-violent) behavior and delaying sexual activity by utilizing a male mentoring programs at churches and schools.  The principle behind the program was that we believe that all children are the collective responsibility of the community and the cornerstone of our future.  While we recognize the role of the birth parents in the development of children, we are also aware that in many communities, such as ours, the birth parents themselves are little more than children or that they themselves were never parented in a way that allows them to fulfill their parental responsibility in a positive and constructive manner.  This program concentrates on helping to develop the many survival skills young African American boys need.

Program Details:

*hosting  male rap sessions with sixth grade male students at  elementary schools reaching 35-50 adolescent males between ages 11-13 on a yearly basis

*providing public awareness programs to male youth between ages of 13-18 at local high schools, or at any of our community awareness programs (focusing on churches).

*Mentoring to male youth from five counties Bolivar, Sunflower, Humphreys, Leflore and Washington).

*Conducting one major conference each year,  reaching over 400 junior and senior males from five counties on having a good time without sex, decreasing youth violence (gangs, etc.), discussing relationships and learning to build self confidence.

Preparing our Sons for Manhood: Salvaging the Seeds is a program based on principles of love,  respect, responsibility, guidance and spirituality. Based on the time-honored traditions in the African-American community: "It takes an entire village to raise a child," they embrace the idea that all children are the collective responsibility of the community and the cornerstone of the future.   

Our House understands the critical importance and potential impact in identifying problems of behavior, attitude and perception in human relationships while our children's hearts and  minds are still salvageable, and before the problems escalate and are manifested in antisocial, destructive activities. By providing positive role models, cultivating self-esteem, improving self-awareness (particularly in areas of avoiding violent behavior), identifying goals and solutions, and offering practical training in life skills we endeavor to bring an end to social and domestic violence in our communities and society at large.

Other services of Our House, Inc.
MASH - Men Against Spousal Harm is a Behavioral Modification Program for court-ordered domestic violence abusers..  Reports of successful outcomes ranged from 75% to 90%. *LOVE - Let Our Violence End  The program provides services for victims of domestic violence. *Rural Communities Public Awareness Program was established to address two areas: schools and churches. *Teens' Intimate Partners Violence Prevention Program   The project is a three year research project for ninth grade students. *Survival United Program was established to provide emotional support to survivals of homicide cases. *Advocacy and Training Program

Cities with Mississippi Models:
Greenville, MS
Cleveland, MS

Contacts:   
Originator: Dr. Patricia Ann Davenport,
Silent Witness Mississippi Mentor: Dr. Patricia Ann Davenport,
Our House, Inc., PO Box 3956 Greenville, MS 38704
1/662-334-6873 - office, 1/662-334-6875 - fax
ourhouse@tecinfo.com  -  e-mail

New Life Church, Inc.   (Partnering Agency)
Contact: Dr. Roderick Mitchell
1/662-846-LIFE (5433) - office, 1/66-843-6103 - fax
newlife@tecinfo.com  - e-mail

Resources:
Descriptive brochures, &  speakers
Training Manual available soon.

I leave you today with a few quotes from a book I'm reading that I was told was one of the books that Martin Luther King Jr. carried around with him. The book, written in 1949, is by Howard Thurman.

Mr. Thurman says that the "three hounds of hell that track the trail" of any oppressed group are these: fear, hypocrisy, and hatred. If we allow these three attributes to have control of us, then external forces will be able to overwhelm us. He says "out of the heart are the issues of life and that no external force, however great and overwhelming, can at long last destroy a people if it does not first win the victory of the spirit against them." Again and again it comes back to the inner life of the individual and the "inward center" as the crucial arena where the issues would determine the destiny of a people.

"Nothing less than a great daring in the face of overwhelming odds can achieve the inner security in which fear cannot possibly survive. It is true that human beings cannot be serene unless they  possess something about which to be serene. Here we reach the high-water mark of prophetic religion..."


Can you see the application of his words to the domestic violence movement? In Silent Witness our "inward center" is hope, healing and helping each other. Our spirits are strong  as we move forward. Let's be models of gentle strength wherever we go.

Cheers,

Janet



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