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June 16  Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I am flooded with gratitude again this week. I seem to be having that experience more and more these days. My gratitude this week is because of you. Every time I talk with one of you or hear from you I am reminded of how wonderful your spirits are, how strongly you believe in Silent Witness and how much you want to heal this country.

One image that comes to mind is that we are all honey bees in the way in which we do our work. We come from the same hive (Silent Witness and our healing principles) and we all leave each morning to find the nectar, the sweetness in the world, the healing potential, the successful program, the beauty amongst the weeds. And as we go for the nectar we also do our work of spreading the pollen, of reseeding the beauty and the healing to other plants. Every life we touch with healing in turn touches the lives of hundreds of others.

One survivor who is healed heals her children and other survivors. One perpetrator who is healed heals other perpetrators. One court that is transformed sends out the message to other courts that there is a way to be different. One teenager who finds his/her light in turn lights the path for others. One church that experiences real prevention can't wait to tell the good news to other communities of faith. One community that makes a united effort work becomes a model of hope for others.

What goes around comes around. Believe it. Live it. Go for it.

Tracy Griffith (Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland/Perry Counties, Carlisle, PA), Lizzy Poole (Maine and Florida, new email address), Delores Larson (Rose Advocates, Weiser, Idaho), Paul Hoffman (Assoc. Principal, New Fairfield High School, Connecticut), Women's Resource Center (Glasgow, Montana).


ARIZONA: Diane Peterson's Memorial Message about her husband, John.

He was my beloved husband, my best friend, my soul mate.  Our life together has been an incredible journey and our journey hasn't ended yet, thought it has changed now.  We survived a lot of heartbreak, hard times, the loss of loved ones, changes and growth - but we survived together because our love was never in doubt.  We were two very imperfect human beings together in a perfect union.  During our marriage I saw his honesty and strength when he faced obstacles that he knew needed to be overcome.  I saw his kindness and decency to everyone he ever met and every person he met became an instant friend.  I saw his total and complete joy and pride at the birth of each son, and the delight he took in each of his grandchildren is indescribable.  That joy will continue to be his forever, as he will always be there for each of them.

Throughout his illness he showed unbelievable courage and never stopped thinking of others and how he could make them feel "okay" with what was happening to him.  He was always aware of the heartache I was feeling and many times we grieved together as the cancer took away each physical ability. But cancer is so limited - it could not cripple his love, it did not shatter his hope, it was unable to corrode his faith, it could not destroy his many friendships, it could never take away his courage, it was never able to invade his soul or his spirit and, most of all, it could not steal his reward
of eternal life.  I know that he is still with me and with each of you who love him and he is smiling and telling his stories and singing harmony in the most beautiful chorus of all and, as I promised him many times, in the blink of an eye we will meet again.

*What a tribute. Nothing more needs to be said.

Jan Fuhr gives us this update on what is happening in New Fairfield:

To update you on what is planned for DV awareness in New Fairfield, CT.  I met with the First Selectman, reps from the high school and the library last week.  It has been decided to have the Silent Witnesses here for the third week of Sept. 2000.  They will be at the Senior Center for a few days.  Then, they go to the high school where several speakers on DV will be in different
classrooms, ie: social studies, health class etc. and the school psychologist will be available to meet with students on a one to one basis.  It will be a very powerful day.  Finally, the witnesses will spend the rest of the week, including the weekend at the public library.  Of course, the witnesses will always be accompanied by literature on DV and how to learn more or get help and a volunteer to assist onlookers.

*Thanks, Jan. This is wonderful. The schools and libraries are such a great places to have the Witnesses. You have done a great job. See what the efforts of one person can do!!

Edna Victoria Rodriguez from Guatemala writes this wonderful note:

Thank you for the document that you sent about the Silent Witness program.  I received one copy and Convergencia, the organization I volunteer for received one copy too.  We found it is a very impacting way to deliver the idea of what violence against women means.  We want to do something like it in Guatemala.  What we are doing now is reading the document together and doing the translation while reading it, since most of our members only speak Spanish.  Then we have to do a research to find the  information of victims in Guatemala.  We wish to be ready by the month of November, since the 25 is a commemorative day in regard to violence against women. We are very thankful to you, to Lois Herman and to League of Women Voters form Minnesota, who helped us receive your message.  Thank you very much.  

*And we are thrilled to be working with you, Edna. This is such wonderful collaboration. Gracias. I have already asked them to please send us a copy of the translation so we can get the Results book to other Spanish speaking people. Now we truly are more international--we're bilingual.

Patrick O'Donnell writes us from Dayton, where there is a lot going on, as you'll see:

It has been quite awhile since I've contact you.  We continue our coordination of Silent Witness in the Dayton, Ohio area - shopping malls, police department lobby's, college student unions, churches, high school cafeterias, fund-raising events for a victim advocacy group -- recent locations are diverse, but the message and the response is consistent and powerful.
On another note, I'm pleased to say that we have recently completed the video-based, domestic violence training documentary we have been working on for the past three years.  In the process of producing the series, we have been all over the country.  Some of the nation's leaders in the field of domestic violence are featured -- Sarah Buel, Lt. Mark Wynn, James Hardeman, Dr. Evan Stark, Judge Ronald Adrine, Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Why They Kill, among others.  Funding from several foundations and from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services is making it possible for us to get the series to every shelter in Ohio, every domestic violence coordinating council, and about 600 police departments.  The web site for CITY OF SHELTER: A Coordinated Community Response To Domestic Violence is, www.cityofshelter.org
We had the premiere April 1st and had the pleasure of having Connie Fox and her husband in attendance.  The Louisville Courtwatch program is in the documentary.
*Wow, this is very exciting. Is the training video available for sale to the rest of us? It's so important to involve artists in what we do. The message goes right to people's hearts.

On another note, Stephanie Hughes has been involved in a very civil discussion with a religious organization on-line who she feels is underplaying the significance of domestic violence. They are listening very respectfully to her reasoning and are open to dialogue. This is an example of what I think we are all about, civil discussion in order to open lines of communication and make significant changes in the world. Thank you Stephanie.

Laurie Ludwig of Brunswick, ME, wrote us this note. "I am dedicating this original poem, which I have written, copyright-2000-The International Library of Poetry, to all those who have lost their lives due to domestic violence and also to all who are still at risk! "

Is tonight the night/Life will end for me/His drunken stench/Sure does sour me
He reaches out/And shoves me down/Onto the floor/Then atop me he's bound
I struggle under the pressure/Of sixty pounds times three/He places his hands/Around my throat they are mean
Our eyes then do lock/It's just crazy I see/Must try to breathe/As my air's leaving me
Struggling more with my might/I reach out to my right/A handle I feel/Of a pan it must be
As my eyes see black/And my breath leaves me/My hand clenches tight/On the handle I feel
I hit him on his head/To the floor he then falls/I crawled out from under/The sixty pounds times three
The air which I had lost/Begins to return to me/I must get away/But a problem I see
To where do I go/For he'll surely find me.
This poem is TRUE!  I was lucky and was able to get away.  It can be done!  But in so many cases, it is a very difficult thing to do!

*Thanks, Laurie, for gifting us with the truth of your experience and for dedicating this poem to all of the Silent Witnesses.


Jan Secor wrote us this week with the exciting possibility of working with her and with Siberian women on domestic violence issues:

Currently, I am a Fulbright Scholar working at the Siberian Academy for Public Administration in Novosibirsk, Russia. My official work here concerns leadership development for civil servants. My passion lies with leadership development for women. I have been involved with exchanges between Siberian women and women of the Pacific Northwest for ten years. In 1998, we received funding from the USIA, which allowed us to take our project to a higher level and to begin to focus it on building a response to domestic violence. We have just received another grant from the same source, now called BECA, for another major series of exchanges.

A great deal of work needs to be done in Russia to even begin to challenge domestic violence. Denial is very strong and alternatives for families are limited. Here we use the term "family violence" and include child abuse as well as spousal and elder abuse because of the multigenerational nature of most Russian families. Non profit and advocacy organizations are very new. Of course, they were not allowed under the Soviet system. There is no tradition of either charity or organizing for social change. Therefore, we have undertaken a multidisciplinary approach.

I think a project such as the Silent Witness National Initiative might be appropriate here. We may have to jump very quickly to healing as separation is not realistic for Russian families. For example, couples get divorced but must continue to live in the same apartment because they can not find alternative housing. A friend of mine is living with her ex-son-in-law because he has a legal right to live in her flat and won't move. Her daughter left him, got a divorce, but he won't move out. Even worse, elderly women in Moscow are sometimes killed by relatives who want their apartments. Nine women from one village in the Altai Republic are in prison for killing their husbands. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of such stories. Yet the belief is still very strong that this is not a problem in Russia or that the woman's behavior has caused the problem so a little counseling will solve it.

*We are so excited to be working with Jan on possible projects in Siberia. She will be in MN this summer so we can meet with her directly. What a great opportunity.

This note comes from Aly Morgan, country western singer in Texas who takes a hopeful message about domestic violence to her audiences and works with a lot of churches as part of her music:

I have been speaking at many churches and trying to help them set up some sort of help lines for
women in their community. I am trying to let these people know that domestic violence is taking place in their churches and these women need to know people are there for them. We are having great responses. Also I have been given some property in Paducah Ky. We are in the process of trying to get things in order to open a Christian safe house. The churches have come with open arms to offer help
and support when things are ready. Please take a look at our web site www.aofonline.com  

Its not finished, but we are on our way. We are about to get national distribution on our CD. We are a national foundation and will be having fund raisers to raise money for our ministry. As soon as we start having donations we will be contributing 10% of our funds to Silent Witness, and the rest will
be to fund our safe house. We hope this is just the beginning. We pray someday we won't need safe houses at all, but until that day we want to make a difference. This project has become very dear to me.

*We are thrilled to hear about all this good work. Aly is really on the move. We'll look forward to many updates to this great new project. Thanks for all of this Aly. You are really an ally through your music and your wonderful good will.

Seattle has created a new domestic violence court. Here is the announcement.

Now, King County District Court officials have created three specialized Domestic Violence Courts to handle such cases more quickly and effectively. The program, to be announced in a news conference this morning, is geared to confront abuse before it happens again -- to keep victims out of danger
and  batterers from facing Superior Court felony charges later on.
"The consequences of failing to handle these cases properly can be terrible," said Presiding Judge David Steiner, who helped put together the new program. "We do not want to read about any cases where the district court dropped the ball on a domestic-violence situation."
The courts will operate from three of the nine existing divisions of King County District Court -- at the King County Courthouse in Seattle, the Northeast division in Redmond and at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.
*Yes, Seattle. We are proud of this effort. The courts are responding. Thanks to all who helped on this and to the judge who is quoted above.




Please mark your calendars for the week of October 23 and plan to come to the Silent Witness Steering Committee meeting in Montana. This will be the only Steering Committee meeting this year since I am visiting several states individually. The great thing about this meeting is that you can stay on and take the two days of training that the Montana Silent Witness group is doing there. You can accomplish three things with one trip. More details in the next newsletter. PUT THIS WEEK ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW AND PLAN TO ATTEND. WE'D LOVE TO SEE YOU AND YOU CAN BE PART OF THE EXCITING FUTURE OF SILENT WITNESS.


On June 12, the Clinton Administration took a strong stand against violence against women as the First
Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Congress to reauthorize  VAWA now. During a press event hosted by the First Lady, speakers from around the country sang VAWA¹s praises and described how VAWA has changed the lives of women and children throughout their communities. This is wonderful support. Now we just hope Congress agrees and quickly reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act.


We now have two sources for our great miniature Silent Witness figures. They are both 7-8 inches tall, made of red cardboard with a paper doll stand. They can stand on a desk or be taped to a wall and are a vibrant reminder of what we are about. I usually write on the back--thank you's and reminders that we appreciate the work that people do. They can be used for Legislators, funders, backers, fund raisers, or just to help you remember why you are doing this work.

If you want a sample from us, just email me and ask for one. I love spreading their good will around the country. They will lighten your heart. I have three standing on my desk at all times.

1. Light weight figures:

This is a light weight cardboard  with a paper doll stand. On the shield is the phrase "Remember Me" and you can either have the Silent Witness National Initiative name and Zero by 2010 or your own state name. They come from a company called Trade Letter Press Services 425-485-8659 fax 425-485-9841.

The prices are (for die cut and foil)  
250 $107.50
500 $165.00
1000 $245.00
 Prices may have changed since I ordered several months ago.

Additional one time die charge for copy change inside shield $45. Our shield (that would not cost you any more since they already have the copy) has Silent Witness National Initiative but could be accompanied by a letter explaining local interests.

2. Heavier weight Source:

The figures are made of medium weight cardboard with a paper-doll stand so they can easily stand on people's desks or on window sills.

The gold shield on the front looks like this:
                                 Remember Me
                       Silent Witness National Initiative
                                zero by 2010

The costs of this product are as follows (higher costs are due to the heavy weight of the cardboard):     500 $1250     
1000  $1950  
2000 $2550
plus $250 die cut fee. If you would like to order directly please call Triangle Printing (they outsource this product) at  612-822-7871 or fax 612-822-1424.

I leave you today with the lyrics from the song, The Rose. What a powerful song.


Some say love, It is a river that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, It is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, It is a hunger, an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed.

It's the heart, afraid of breaking, That never learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking, That never takes a chance.
It's the one who won't be taken, Who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dying, that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely, And the road has been to long,
And you think that love is only for The lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love In the spring becomes the rose.



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