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June 22, 2001


Dear Friends,
It's the summer solstice in this hemisphere and the middle of the winter for our friends in Australia. It is a time to stop and be grateful for the turning of the seasons. During this mid-summer, I'm going to stop and smell the roses. And be grateful for all of you out there who are doing such incredible work with Silent Witness.

In this newsletter I hope to get you started thinking about October SW events by listing some of the new resources we have to help you. And I will list the new DV homicide data from the FBI Supplemental Homicide Reports for 1999. The DV homicide rates are down but there remember, our goal is zero domestic homicides by the year 2010. Thanks for all that you've done to help drive these numbers down. I know I've said it before, but you are all angels.

Advocacy Group (Ronan, MT), Gail Heller (Choices, Columbus, OH, new email address)



Marcia McKenzie sends us this update from Alaska:

Alaska's Silent Witnesses had a busy spring and we're very proud that they are traveling our state. At the end of April, our Witnesses flew from Anchorage to Fairbanks and participated in a "Take Back the Night" event sponsored by the local domestic violence and sexual assault program, the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living. IAC participates in Sexual Assault Awareness Month and
is all too aware of the fact that domestic violence often includes sexual assault, and so it was great to have the Witnesses help make their event a success.

On May 9-10 in Anchorage, the Witnesses attended Alaska's Full Faith & Credit Conference sponsored by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. Here in Alaska, the Native tribal courts have jurisdiction over their members and can issue civil protective orders. The issue of enforcement, however, has been a stumbling block. The State of Alaska has a protective order registry to facilitate enforcement, but requires the protective orders to meet specific requirements in order to be input into the registry. Under VAWA, all protective orders from ALL jurisdictions are to be given "full faith and credit", but the State of Alaska appears to have placed bureaucratic barriers in the way of protecting victims. It was a stimulating and challenging conference, and the Silent Witnesses were very much appreciated
for their role of keeping the Conference focused on victim safety.

Then, immediately after the Conference, the Silent Witnesses flew back to Fairbanks to participate in a Pastor's Symposium on Domestic Violence on May 14, 2001 held at the University Community Presbyterian Church. The community of Fairbanks has been very active in taking a stance against domestic violence, and when a group of clergy decided they needed more education on the issue, the Witnesses were requested to attend.

*Thanks Marcia,for this great report and for all the work you do to keep the Silent Witnesses flying around Alaska. It inspires us all.


Jerri Miller writes us from Montana:
It is official!!! Montana Silent Witness Initiative, Inc. is the proud holder of a grant from the Montana Board of Crime Control in the amount of $10,063.00! The funds are through the VAWA funding to MBCC. Our grant will be used to provide two Self-Mastery Workshops in Montana, one in October, 2001 and the 2nd in May, 2002. Rose Mary, hope you are ready for a couple more trips to our state. There are several things we will be required to do, the most important, I feel are to make sure that we do as much outreach to eastern Montana and to the reservations as those areas will be having the biggest problems with the newly mandated expanded hours of counseling. How the change in law will actually affect the reservations, we don't know yet, but it's something we need to look into.

Additionally, we requested in the grant and received the funds to purchase a laptop computer and software to design Court Watch training discs which will be made available to any advocacy program in the state. Vickie and I will "have disk, will travel" if needed. 

*This is wonderful news, Jerri. We should really start seeing an impact from the training that Rose Mary does in Montana. Yes.


Gearing Up for October Silent Witness Events:

It is time to get started planning for October DV Awareness events in your city or state, using the Silent Witness exhibit. Our goal is to have all 50 states involved in SW activities this year. We have lots of ways to help you and we need your ideas too. Here's what is available from SW so far:

Products that will spark enthusiasm: We now have photos of our products on the web site; buttons, tee shirts, stationery, two books, CDs of our anthem, videos of the March in Washington. Check out the web site at www.silentwitness.net/sub/official.htm

Ideas that others have used for events: We have lots and lot of ideas compiled to help you make the best event ever for your city. These are all described along with contact people on the web site. www.silentwitness.net/sub/plan_event.htm

Leadership: We have listed the coordinators of each state and several cities (photos soon!) so you can contact them to schedule the exhibit. They are on the web site at www.silentwitness.net/sub/council.htm We also need help in calling all the states to see what's happening in October so we can keep everyone up to date. If you would like to help with that please let me know. A note on the photos, if you are a SW Coordinator and don't want your photo on our web site please let me know. And if you don't see your photo there in the next month, it's because I don't have one of you or I haven't been able to locate it. Please send me one.

Logos: Art for our SW logo will be available on the web site next week so if you would like to download the art, you just need a password from me to get into that part of the site.

Keep us informed PLEASE: We really need you to write us and let us know what you are planning for October or other times this fall, as soon as possible. We publish it in the newsletter and it gets everyone excited. But more importantly, we know which states are active and which ones we need to do more work with to get activities going.

Homicide Rates for Women (18 and older by intimate partners) in the United States:1999

Here is the 1999 data (the latest available) from the FBI for intimate murders in the US by state. I have also noted whether the number reflects an increase from the previous year, a decrease, or no change. In summary, 25 states had a decrease, 18 states had an increase, 5 states were unchanged, 2 states and DC didn't report. If your numbers from your own data collection differ from this and you would like to check out why, I would be willing to go through the incident report with you so you can see where the differences lie, thus letting you know where the gaps in reporting are in your state. Working collaboratively with these reporting agencies is one of the ways in which we will be able to get more accurate data every year and be seen as more and more credible as a result.

State: Number of DV homicides Increase, decrease, same
of women 18 and older by
intimate partners

Alabama: 1 down

Alaska: 5 up

Arizona: 31 up

Arkansas: 13 down

California: 137 up

Colorado: 22 up

Connecticut: 14 up

Delaware: 4 up

District of Columbia: no report

Florida: no report

Georgia: 31 down

Hawaii: 3 down

Idaho: 3 unchanged

Illinois: Chicago report only 21 down

Indiana: 20 down

Iowa: 5 down

Kansas: no report 

Kentucky: 4 down

Louisiana: 31 down

Maine: 8 up

Maryland: 15 down

Massachusetts: 11 No Boston report up

Michigan: 36 up

Minnesota: 11 up

Mississippi: 12 down 

Missouri: 17 down

Montana: 1 down

Nebraska: 5 unchanged

Nevada: 22 up

New Hampshire: 3 down

New Jersey: 27 down

New Mexico: 8 unchanged

New York: 45 down

North Carolina: 32 down

North Dakota: 1 unchanged

Ohio: 32 down

Oklahoma: 23 up

Oregon: 12 unchanged

Pennsylvania: 41 down

Rhode Island: 1 down

South Carolina: 34 down

South Dakota: 3 up

Tennessee: 34 up

Texas: 95 down

Utah: 10 up
Vermont: 4 up

Virginia: 37 down

Washington: 8 down

West Virginia: 12 up

Wisconsin: 13 up

Wyoming: 1 down

I leave you today with a little poem that celebrates the butterfly. I thought it would remind us all that many butterflies migrate from North America to South America and back every year. We need that kind of strength and stamina in our Silent Witness work. What a powerful image.

Empty handed
the butterfly
carries thunder
across the meadow

L. Miller




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