July 06, 2001
It is fun to look at my July calendar and see all the international
holidays. There is Canada Day the first, Independence Day in the USA on the
fourth, Ocean Day in Japan on the twentieth, and St. James' Day in Spain on
the twenty-fifth. Also I am aware that there are several special times of
the year when we bring awareness to DV in the world. In the USA we focus on
April and October (which is DV Awareness month and the commemoration of our
Silent Witness march in Washington on October 18th, 1997). In many other
parts of the world there is another time of commemoration, Eighteen Days in
November. I'd love to have more information about that so will someone
please fill me in so I can pass the information along.
I asked guests at my Fourth of July party to share what was the time in
their life when they first became aware that freedom was important to them
(economic, political, or personal freedom). It was so interesting to hear
people's varied stories. And everyone had an exact date or a memorable event
to share. How would you answer that question?
Just to remind ourselves that the women we commemorate with our Silent
Witnesses were not free, here are a few of their stories. Let's honor their
memories, hold them in our hearts, and pledge never to let another woman be
murdered anywhere in the world.
Mireille Jacques, age unknown, killed January 17, 1995
Mireille Jacques, mother of three, had her throat fatally slashed by her
husband who then committed suicide in his car. Mireille Jacques had secured
a one-year restraining order against her husband on December 6, 1994.
Claire Downing, age 60, killed January 24, 1995
Claire Downing, who was confined to a wheelchair, was bludgeoned to death by
her husband. Downing then stabbed himself repeatedly in a suicide attempt.
He was found guilty of manslaughter on July 22, 1996, and sentenced to 15-20
Meredith Coppola, age 18, killed January 10, 1995
Meredith Coppola was fatally stabbed by her boyfriend. There was an
extensive history of violence in the relationship, including a restraining
order Ms. Coppola secured against him in 1993. Her boyfriend was convicted
of first degree murder on June 27, 1996, and was sentenced to life in prison
WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Rosalie Brown (Stand! Against Domestic Violence, Northern Cal.), Gay
Woodhouse (Lawyer and ret. AG, Wyoming, new email address), Rhonda Miller
(SW Coordinator, St. Paul, MN, Jr. League), Bill Blount (Instructor,
California Youth Authority, Stockton, CA), Millie Hayden (Atlanta YWCA
Family Violence Program), Julianna Nemeth (Recent grad-Ohio State, Columbus,
OH), Michelle Dempsey
(Law professor, DePaul University, Gov. Commission on the Status of
Women-Illinois), Gloria Ortiz, Rosa Elvamata (Wintergarden Women's Shelter,
Carrizo Springs, TX)
STATES AND COUNTRIES ON BOARD FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER SW EVENTS:
Our goal is
50 states and 12 countries: Please let us know if you are scheduling events
as soon as possible and get us the details later. These are the first
states/countries on board: California, Cayman Islands, Illinois, Kentucky,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island
NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:
This note from Rosalie Brown at STAND! Against Domestic Violence, in
Yes, we put Silent Witness on display each year at our Rebuilding Lives
Luncheon. We invite about 600 community leaders from all over Contra Costa
County and have a client speak. We have the SW on display, and guests
usually meander through and read the stories. Before the client speaker goes
on we ask for people to stand in silence to remember those who have been
victims. It's very emotional.
This year, in addition to the Rebuilding Lives Luncheon, we will also be
having a candlelight vigil during October. The SW will be on display, along
with artwork from some of our clients and their children, survivor speak-out
etc. We see a lot of value in the SW project.
*Thanks Rosalie, for this great work. It is so powerful to hear that the
Witnesses are speaking out all over the country at all kinds of events.
Let's keep this going.
And this moving note from Bill Blount, who works with youth offenders:
I am an instructor for the Calif. Youth Authority in Stockton,CA teaching
the following courses: The Impact of Crime on Victims and Anger Management.
The wards at our location are the younger ones and we can successfully make
an impact on them. Also, I am a charter member of the Silent Witness group
in Sacramento and Yolo Counties. The wards in my classes are responsible
for making and caring for the silhouettes.
*I really like that young men are helping us and seeing what it means to
make a silhouette of a murdered woman. Thanks for all your good work on the
teaching end too, Bill. We need all the work with adolescents that we can
!!!!This message needs our response. Please email Des Raftery with the help
I just wanted to let you know that in Elk Grove Village, IL, we are
presently involved in a community awareness program around the
issues of domestic violence. I am the police social worker and as a police
department, we have been actively involved in assisting
victims of DV in obtaining Orders of Protection and linking up victims and
their families to resources in and outside of the community.
My question to you and the membership. I want the DV awareness program to
reach out the community as a whole. Presently, we have organized a
fundraising walk to assist a local agency that is involved in establishing a
DV shelter. We have other community initiatives, through the high school,
community presentations during the month of October and it is hoped that the
village will adopt October as "domestic violence awareness month." We plan
on having the Silent Witness display available in prominent places
throughout the village and a number of volunteers will provide information
on domestic violence to interested people. It sounds like we are doing a
lot for our first initiative, but I wondered if the experienced membership
could assist in providing me with more information about organizing such a
Are there posters available? What do I need to be aware of as I proceed in
the organization of this venture? Any help would be
great. Thank you, Des Raftery firstname.lastname@example.org
*We are pleased to have you involved with Silent Witness and wish you well
in this first venture. OK network, let 's go to work for her.
Latest news on the MA (Peace at Home) Silent Witness Exhibit from Nancy
We have found a volunteer who is willing to sew protective bags for each of
our figures. We decided we needed something to keep each figure in so they
would last longer from the wear and tear of travel. We have been lucky to
get donations from two fabric places and we are currently having a
blanket/comforter drive-we need those to line the inside of the bags. The
Exhibit has been to a couple of places this month. One was the Jane Doe
Immigrant and Refugee Conference: Addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual
Assault in Immigrant and Refugee Communities at Northeastern University. The
other was the National Center for Victims of Crime Training Institute in
Westford, MA where I was actually given some time to talk about the exhibit.
There were people at these conferences from MA, WI, CT, NY, ME, MN, and GA
so hopefully they'll be looking into their state's exhibits as well. Both
places has similar responses to the exhibit, "Powerful!" "Wow!!"
"Extremely Moving." Peace at Home also featured one figure as an example of
the exhibit at the Chelsea Community Connections Conference where various
social service agencies could view various domestic violence resources and
materials to use in their agencies.
I also wanted to comment how great this electronic newsletter is. Peace at
Home has been able to link up with some other agencies and distribute our
handbooks to them. Thanks again for everyone's contributions!
*And thanks to you for all that you have contributed to Silent Witness as
well. We need everyone's involvement to get those murder rates down.
Rhonda Miller is the new coordinator of the Silent Witness Project for the
Jr. league of St. Paul. Our thanks to Judy Nelson who was the head of this
effort and is now moving into a new leadership position within the League.
They are planning several events using the Witnesses. We are grateful for
our ongoing collaboration with the Jr. Leagues all around the country.
*Welcome to the network Rhonda.
This powerful story comes from Tracy Lakatua in Missoula:
Yesterday was the Taste of Missoula, the YWCA's biggest fund raiser. On
display was the Silent Witness figure for Janis Hansen, who was a client in
the YWCA's battered women's shelter in 1990. She was shot by her husband
when she returned to her home to get a dress to wear for a job interview. He
killed her and then shot himself in front of their three-year-old daughter.
While many people read the story and were moved, one woman handed us all the
cash from her wallet --- about $80 --- for the Y's shelter. About ten
minutes later she returned with a check for $250. She told us she had once
been in a shelter and now was not only back on her feet, but in a very good
situation. She had tears running down her face as she explained how she now
wanted to "give back" for all the help she received when she was leaving her
*This is the kind of story we long to hear more of, the healing stories that
raise our spirits. It is an amazing tribute to the human spirit. Thanks
Tracy for sending this along to us.
And Nancy Rafi keeps us updated on the busy RI exhibit:
SW in Rhode Island is still moving forward. Roger Williams University is in
the progress of starting their own project, with the goal being completion
of its Witnesses for the October 18th event. The will make 3 RI campuses
with their own projects - go Rhode Island! Melanie Martin has been a force
to be reckoned with on our campuses - what would we do without her? Monica
Blaizgis from New York will be in Newport tomorrow night and the three of us
are getting together for dinner and more brainstorming...look out!
We are already starting to put together ideas for our statewide event in
October. We're going to try to have a SW event every day that month -
somewhere in the state - and with 7 projects around the state now, that
should be attainable, right?
Thanks for the update of the 1999 dv murder stats.. I wish that I could say
that our DV murders are declining in RI, but unfortunately we've had 5 this
year already - 1 age 18, 1 age 54, 1 age 76, and 2 children murdered by
their mother (who then committed suicide, ages 4 & 7). We have done some
outreach into the communities where these murders have happened, and have
even worked with the church of the 18-year-old woman in Barrington, RI - a
community where "these kinds of things don't happen". We are participating
in a peace march being held at Roger Williams Park in Providence on July 1st
- to bring awareness that we hope for a peaceful summer in our state. On
July 8th we'll be at the Women Sharing Strength arts & crafts event in
Wakefield, RI - our 4th year there! Then in August we'll be participating
in National Night Out in Warwick, RI - where local police & fire
departments, along with social service agencies - offer a night out for
families - with fun, entertainment etc.
*Nancy, a Silent Witness presence EVERY DAY for a month. Now that is a
challenge. So sorry to hear of the DV deaths but that keeps us working hard
to end this. With Nancy, Melanie and Monica working together, the world will
never be the same!!
Our newest member of the SW network is a shelter, Wintergarden Women's
Shelter, Inc, in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The executive there is Rosa
Elvamata and the program director is Gloria Ortiz. They borrowed a witness
from the Texas Council and took it around to the local civic groups, Lions,
Elks etc. to raise funds to make their own exhibit. The civic groups were
very generous. Then the school shop classes got involved in making the
figures. So the shelter now has 12 Silent Witness figures and they are
joining our network. A hearty welcome to them. We hope to hear more of these
wonderful stories about the generosity of the community.
NEWS FROM WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS:
Rose Mary Boerboom's Training Schedule for Self Mastery Treatment Program:
Chicago, Illinois: One-day training, July 26, 2001, 9:00-4:00, $75, call
Minneapolis, MN: Fall, 2001. Details to follow.
Montana: Two training programs in 2001-2002
Wyoming: Four training programs around the state in 2002
Rhode Island: Training program in the Fall of 2001. Details to follow.
If you would like to keep updated on Rose Mary's training please email her
She has already heard from a program in Wyoming that is using her model with
survivors of DV and they are very excited about the results they are having
with women, using the Self Mastery model. So the word is spreading.
Kirsten Jennings visits Silent Witness in Minneapolis:
Kirsten Jennings is the domestic violence staff person for the AJLI, the
Association of Jr. Leagues International in New York. She was in
Minneapolis for a conference on volunteerism and stopped in for a wonderful
visit and dinner. We had a great time getting caught up on all that Silent
Witness and the Jr. League are doing in the DV arena. It reminded us of what
a wonderful collaborative relationship we have had together since the very
beginning of Silent Witness. And Kirsten was one of our Silent Witness march
coordinators in Washington along with Sherri Ettleson and Kelly Austin. That
was a big responsibility, and they did a great job. It was wonderful to see
her again and to express our gratitude to the Jr. League.
Update of the Silent Witness web site:
I am working hard to update the web site so it is even more wonderful. Here
are some new features that you might find interesting.
Look for them in the next few days and weeks. Did you know that the Silent
Witness web site gets 60,000hits a month most of the year and in the slow
months we get only 40,000 hits a month!!!
Photos of state or city coordinators for Silent Witness. We have several
already but are looking for more. I'd also like to list every city in a
state/country that has a Silent Witness exhibit. So keep me informed please.
An International section listing many of our contacts in countries around
the world. If you are not listed and would like to be, please
let me know. And we'd love photos too. We have a picture of the Hungary
exhibit but no other international photos. So we need
more. This will be up in a few weeks.
A special college section so college students can download materials for
campus events and a listing of the colleges with Silent
Poetry and books that might be useful for events or for personal use
The actual Silent Witness 1997 March to End the Silence video streamed onto
the web site
Rose Mary Boerboom's Self Mastery program described in the Results Projects
A section for people starting new Silent Witness exhibits (password needed,
so we can welcome people and keep track of where the
new exhibits are located)
The listing of the 1999 homicide statistics for each state
Possibly a chat room or "pal talk" so we can talk to each other using
microphones on our computers. What do you all think of that?
I leave you today with two quotes, quite different from one another. One is
about liberty and the other is a wonderfully childlike thought. It might
behoove us to take both of them more seriously!
"You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other
person's freedom. You can only be free if I am free." Clarence Darrow
What if "Doing the Hokie Pokie" IS WHAT IT'S REALLY ALL ABOUT?