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July 06, 2001

 

Dear Friends, 

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 
years. 

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 
without parole. 



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: 

CALIFORNIA: 
This note from Rosalie Brown at STAND! Against Domestic Violence, in 
Northern California: 
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 
muster. 



ILLINOIS: 
!!!!This message needs our response. Please email Des Raftery with the help 
she needs: 

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 
large venture. 
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 draftery@elkgrove.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. 



MASSACHUSETTS: 
Latest news on the MA (Peace at Home) Silent Witness Exhibit from Nancy 
Carolyn Kwant: 

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. 



MINNESOTA: 
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. 



MONTANA: 
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 
husband. 

*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. 


RHODE ISLAND: 
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!! 


TEXAS: 
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 
847-470-7200 
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 
at rose_mary_boerboom@hotmail.com 
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. 
www.silentwitness.net/sub/council.htm 
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. 
www.silentwitness.net/sub/council.htm 
A special college section so college students can download materials for 
campus events and a listing of the colleges with Silent 
Witness exhibits. 
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 
section 
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? 


Cheers, 

Janet 
jhagberg@mn.rr.com 

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