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August 9, 2005

Dear Friends,

I hope this newsletter reaches everyone well! I have a story to share about how important the work that we do is and how it reaches so many people it is hard to realize the effect you have. A student and I started a student group on campus at Oklahoma State University called C.A.R.E (Cowboys Advocating Rape Education). We started in February and had a great impact in April. However we are a small group because it is hard to recruit people for sexual assault and domestic violence awareness because of its heavy content. We did not always think that what we were doing was making an impact because to the speakers and candle light vigil that we had there were not as many people as we had hoped. (Keep in mind the founders of this group are dreamers and have high expectations J ) This summer a student came up to the student who started C.A.R.E with me and was talking about the signs we had put up and the T-shirts we wore. They looked like this:

We all like to think that there is apart of ourselves that is safe ; a place that no one can touch unless we allow them to ; it is in this place that we find the very fibers of our humanity ;

And it is in this place that your world gets ripped apart after you have been raped.

Someone needs to C.A.R.E .

Won’t you?

C owboys Advocating Rape Education

She said that whenever she saw one it had made her cry. So the student talked to her more and she said that a year ago she had been raped and it was the first time she had felt validated. She had told her parents and they had said it was her fault and her friends did not believe her. So the signs and shirts had helped her go into counseling and now she is doing much better.

I just wanted to share that story because if she had never met the student that founded it with me we would never have known what an impact we had made in her life. The Silent Witness Project Exhibits impact every person who sees it. You may never know in what way.

Sincerely,

Cassie Pritchard

Photo Greetings from Bristol , Rhode Island !!

My name is Jen Stanley and I am Director of Residence Life and the Director of the Women’s Center at Roger Williams University .  I will be beginning my 10 th year at RWU this January!  (My how time flys!!)  In November of 2001, Roger Williams University took their first steps toward getting involved with Silent Witness, and by February of 2002, we were well on our way to constructing and unveiling the Silent Witnesses to our campus.  Since then, the project has helped to educate men and women on our campus in countless ways.  I’ve found that the Project has been powerful and life changing for me in so many ways.  And like almost everyone I’ve met through Silent Witness, the power of this initiative pulls you in and makes you want to do more to educate others and honor the legacy of the lives that were so brutally taken.  Over the past few years, I’ve been assisting as one of the National College and University Coordinators, reaching out to other campuses to help spread the word about Silent Witness and support schools that are looking to use Silent Witnesses on their campus or create their own campus chapter. 

 You will also notice that the photo includes a very special student (pictured on the right).  Her name is Bobbi-Lynn Anderson and she is a Junior here at RWU.  Bobbi has been working with the Women’s Center on campus since her freshman year, and has now taken on the added role of helping to organize the information about Silent Witness College and University involvement in an effort to update and streamline the data.  Bobbi is also a fabulous student leader here on campus, serving as a Head Resident Assistant for one of our freshman living areas and the co-chair for our campus Programming Board, among many other leadership roles. 

Please feel free to contact either myself (jstanley@rwu.edu) or Bobbi-Lynn (banderson208@rwu.edu) individually, or you can reach us both at:  silentwitnesscollegeuni_project@yahoo.com.  In an effort to have accurate and up to date information, it is crucial that we connect with every school that is using or has used Silent Witnesses on their campus.   So if you have not heard from us, please email us, so that we can be sure to have accurate contact information for your school.  We hope to create a newsletter specifically for colleges and universities to share campus programming ideas, tips for establishing allies on campus, sharing success stories, and providing support to groups that face challenges on their campuses.  Your accurate information will help us make this possible.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jen and Bobbi-Lynn

NEWS FROM THE STATES:

 Minnesota :

A story from Janet Hagberg:

I took Carmen Brown, the SW figure that I've had housed with me since the
early years of SW, to the MN Women's Consortium to be permanently housed
there. They are interested in helping further the cause in MN and
coordinating the MN exhibit. I thought Carmen had done such a good job
speaking out at events with me for all these years that she needed a new
assignment. So with tears in my eyes, I passed her along to Bonnie Watkins,
the executive director. It was a hard thing go do, since Carmen and I have
been sisters in this work for a long time, but people need to keep hearing
her voice. I also brought one of Connie Clark's home made Sheila Shawls for
Carmen to wear.

Missouri :

Sally Katzif from St. Louis is one of the co-creators of the Silent Witness Exhibit in Missouri .  Nanci Bobrow is the other co-creator as well as current chairperson of the project.  They are members of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)- St. Louis Section-which is the organization that funded and produced the exhibit for Missouri .  NCJW continues to coordinate the calendar and upkeep on the Exhibit.

They are currently investigating their options for redoing our statuettes.  Does anyone have any ideas?  They desperately need ideas that have worked for others that have decided to use something besides wood statuettes.

If you can help please let me know at cassie.pritchard@okstate.edu

Thanks!

 New Jersey :

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 25 - December 10, 2005

Join the 16 Days movement!

Become part of an already existing student, community, national or international activity for the 16 Days or take action on your own.  Use past International Calendars of Activities (available online) or contact the Center for Women’s Global Leadership if you would like more information about activities in your area.  Submit your planned activity to us for posting to the 2005 International Calendar of Activities and become part of the growing global 16 Days movement. 

Request a Take Action Kit!

Contact the Center for Women’s Global Leadership to receive a free copy of the Take Action Kit for the 16 Days campaign.  The Take Action Kit will be available in September and includes:

  • a current campaign announcement
  • a campaign profile and a description of dates
  • a list of participating organizations and countries
  • a bibliography and resource list

· a list of suggested actions

  • supplemental information relevant to this year’s theme       

 The entire contents of the Take Action Kit will also be posted online.

Join the 16 Days electronic discussion!

We invite you to join the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence electronic discussion taking place in the form of a listserve.  The discussion allows activists to collaboratively develop themes and strategies for the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign.  In addition, it can be used to discuss how groups are raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels, to uncover and learn from the ways in which activists have strengthened local work around violence against women, to continually resurface the link between local and international work to end violence against women, to share and develop new and effective strategies, to show the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women, and to help develop further tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.  If you are interested in joining the discussion or if you have any questions, please contact the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at the address below.

Get Involved - On-line!

The Center will post information about the Campaign online at http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/home.html .

Submit your materials!

Participants in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign have been instrumental in bringing issues of violence against women to the forefront in local, national, regional and global arenas.  The strategies employed by groups and the activities organized during the 16 Days Campaign period continue to be unique and innovative.  The Center for Women’s Global Leadership asks that all participants of the 16 Days Campaign - past as well as present - send documentation of their events, i.e. posters, pictures, t-shirts, video footage, poems, songs, statements, reports, etc., to the Global Center for the campaign archives.  If you have photographs, documents, or other examples of your work that you can send in an electronic version, please do so and we will post it on the website.  Your submissions will also enable the Center to refer other individuals and organizations that are interested in your activities to you.  Please send your description of planned activities for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence to the address below.   

Center for Women’s Global Leadership

160 Ryders Lane , Rutgers University , New Brunswick , NJ 08901-8555, USA

Phone (1-732) 932-8782  Fax: (1-732) 932-1180

New York :

Here is an excerpt from an article by David Brooks in The New York Times:

The Virtues of Virtue

The New York Times
By DAVID BROOKS

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of family violence in this country has dropped by more than half since 1993 . I've been trying to figure out why.

A lot of the credit has to go to the people who have been quietly working in this field: to social workers who provide victims with counseling and support; to women's crisis centers, which help women trapped in violent relationships find other places to live; to police forces and prosecutors, who are arresting more spouse-beaters and putting them away.

The Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994, must have also played a role, focusing federal money and attention.

But all of these efforts are part of a larger story. The decline in family violence is part of a whole web of positive, mutually reinforcing social trends. To put it in old-fashioned terms, America is becoming more virtuous. Americans today hurt each other less than they did 13 years ago. They are more likely to resist selfish and shortsighted impulses. They are leading more responsible, more organized lives. A result is an improvement in social order across a range of behaviors.

The decline in domestic violence is of a piece with the decline in violent crime over all. Violent crime over all is down by 55 percent since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71 percent, according to the Department of Justice.

The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38 percent since 1982, according to the Department of Transportation, even though the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81 percent. The total consumption of hard liquor by Americans over that time has declined by over 30 percent.

Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28 percent since its peak in 1990. Teenage births are down significantly and, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions performed in the country has also been declining since the early 1990's.

Fewer children are living in poverty, even allowing for an uptick during the last recession. There's even evidence that divorce rates are declining, albeit at a much more gradual pace. People with college degrees are seeing a sharp decline in divorce, especially if they were born after 1955.

I could go on. Teenage suicide is down. Elementary school test scores are rising (a sign than more kids are living in homes conducive to learning). Teenagers are losing their virginity later in life and having fewer sex partners. In short, many of the indicators of social breakdown, which shot upward in the late 1960's and 1970's, and which plateaued at high levels in the 1980's, have been declining since the early 1990's.

I always thought it would be dramatic to live through a moral revival. Great leaders would emerge. There would be important books, speeches, marches and crusades. We're in the middle of a moral revival now, and there has been very little of that. This revival has been a bottom-up, prosaic, un-self-conscious one, led by normal parents, normal neighbors and normal community activists.

Oregon :

From the CAEPV e-updates:

IN THE NEWS -- OREGON LAWMAKERS ENSURE HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS A PHONE CALL AWAY

Eugene , Oregon --Victims of domestic violence no longer have to worry about having their phone service cut off because of overdue bills. Starting September 1 st, a new law requires phone companies to put victims of domestic violence on payment plans rather discontinue service, giving the abused a vital safety link.

To qualify for a payment plan, victims must have a court-issued protective order and make regular payments. Phone companies are not required to extend service to those who won't pay at all. The program provides only local service.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, passed both chambers by a wide margin.

Approval brought a feeling of relief to Cheryl O'Neill, the executive director of Womenspace, a Eugene-based shelter and support service for domestic violence victims.  O'Neill began pushing for the law six years ago when she worked at the Domestic Violence Clinic of Lane County Legal Aid, helping clients go to court for protective orders to keep abusive ex-partners at bay.

One of O'Neill's clients had recently moved out of an abusive relationship and obtained a restraining order, but could not afford phone service. "Both she and I had contacted the phone company, asking them to let her make payments on the overdue bill so that she would have the safety line of a phone," O'Neill said. "At the phone company I was told it was illegal for them to make such an agreement."

O'Neill said people leaving abusive relationships often have financial problems — such as no credit history, too little income and overdue phone bills — that prevent them from getting phone service.

Yet, O'Neill says, they need phone service to call police, to contact friends and other supporters, to look for housing and jobs, to reach out for help from 24-hour crisis lines, to check on children at school, to call their lawyers. 

O'Neill's client could not summon help when her abusive ex-partner showed up at her home. He raped her, and then committed suicide in front of her.  "I've been carrying that woman around with me all these years. You know that sinking feeling? You reach out to catch something that's falling and you miss," she said. "I felt I still had a duty to her."  (Source:  Associated Press)

Rhode Island :

From the CAEPV e-updates:

Providence , Rhode Island – On June 28, the Rhode Island Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence from their abusers. The legislation, approved 33-1, would allow judges to require accused abusers to surrender their firearms following a hearing to determine whether they represent a danger to their alleged victims.

The House has already approved the legislation, but it amended the Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, so the Senate had to reconsider the bills. Both Goodwin's bill and the House bill, sponsored by Rep. Elaine A. Coderre, D-Pawtucket, now will go to Governor Donald L. Carcieri.

Governor Carcieri’s spokesman Jeff Neal said the governor would sign the bills into law. "Governor Carcieri believers this is an important public safety measure," Neal said. "He thinks this tool will help judges protect the victims of domestic violence." Should Carcieri sign the measure into law, Rhode Island will become the 41st state to allow the seizure of guns from accused domestic abusers.

The legislation provides an exemption for those who use guns in their jobs, but only while they are working. The person's employer must hold on to the weapon while the employee is not on the job. Firearms can be turned over to law enforcement agencies, licensed gun dealers, or anyone other than a relative who can legally own a firearm.

Sen. Walter S. Felag, D-Warren, was the only senator to vote against the bill. When Felag voted against the bill the first time the Senate considered it, he said he objected to the provision that did not allow guns to be turned over to relatives.

No representatives from the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence were at the Statehouse on Tuesday. But in a prepared statement issued last week after the House approved the bills, executive director Deborah DeBare said the measure would save lives. "While this bill is not ideal, we fully endorse it knowing that it does protect victims of domestic violence," she said.  (Source: The Newport Daily News)

Texas :

Another uplifting story J

My name is Sara Bendoraitis and I am the Program Coordinator at the Women's Center/Gender Issues Education Services office at Texas A&M University(TAMU). I am also the creator and coordinator of the TAMU Silent Witness Project. In February of 2004, we unveiled the TAMU project to the campus and community with great success. I decided to take the TX list of victims and use the names of all of the “college age” women, making witnesses for the 17 women in that category that were killed in 2002 (16 of the witnesses are “college age” and the 17 th was actually made as a special request. We had offices and organizations “sponsor” each witness for $100 to help pay for the creation and maintenance of the witnesses and our disability service office asked if there had been anyone that was disabled killed. We did some research and found a woman that was beaten so severely that she suffered from traumatic brain injury and we made I wheelchair bound witness to honor her.) One of the women had been a student here at TAMU and was killed by her boyfriend in the parking lot of her apartment complex as she was packing her car to leave the area and go to her parents to get away from him.

At the unveiling, we had a state representative, Rep. Fred Brown, Havilah Tower-Perkins, from the Texas Council on Family Violence, I and the sister of the TAMU victim all spoke and we gave out awards to three different groups that were instrumental in helping us create these memorials. I was able to get everything we needed to make the witnesses donated-all in all; it was about $2500 in sponsorship and donations that I was able to raise.

 So, to make a long story short, we now have the 17 witnesses that belong to the office and are used all over campus for passive programming. Here’s the link to our webpage about the program: http://www.tamu.edu/gies/programs/silentwitness.htm

Virginia :

From the CAEPV e-updates:

Washington , DC   -- In the first ever domestic violence case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court ruled on June 27 that that Jessica Gonzales did not have a federal constitutional right to police enforcement of a court order against her husband.  The court said in a 7-2 opinion that there is no federal constitutional right to police protection, leaving to state governments the responsibility for enforcing restraining orders and protecting potential victims of domestic violence.

Gonzales contended that police did not do enough to stop her estranged husband, who took their three daughters from the front yard of her home in June 1999 in violation of a restraining order. Hours later Simon Gonzales died in a gunfight with officers outside a police station. The bodies of the three girls, ages 10, 9 and 7, were in his truck. Gonzales argued that she was entitled to sue based on her rights under the 14th Amendment and under Colorado law that says officers shall use every reasonable means to enforce a restraining order. She contended that her restraining order should be considered property under the 14th Amendment and that it was taken from her without due process when police failed to enforce it.

For the Court, Justice Scalia wrote, "the benefit that a third party may receive from having someone else arrested for a crime generally does not trigger protections under the Due Process Clause." He continued, "Although the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1871 ... did not create a system by which police departments are generally held financially accountable for crimes that better policing might have prevented, the people of Colorado are free to craft such a system under state law."

"I am disappointed that the Court has found that Castle Rock cannot be held liable for its failure to enforce my restraining order," said Gonzales. "I will continue to raise awareness around this issue so that my daughters will not have died in vain. We need to put pressure on our elected officials to pass laws that offer real protection to women and their families."

Castle Rock, Co., police contend they tried to help Gonzales. Police twice went to the estranged husband's apartment, kept an eye out for his truck and called his cellular phone and home phone.Gonzales reached him on his cell phone, and he told her that he had taken the girls to an amusement park in nearby Denver . Gonzales contends that police should have gone to the amusement park or contacted Denver police. The case is Castle Rock, Colo. , v. Gonzales, 04-278.  To read the full ruling, go to http://www.supremecourtus.gov(Sources: Associated Press and PR Newswire)

NATIONAL NEWS:

From Joyce Boaz, Dir Gift From Within

 As you know Many of Gift From Within's members are survivors of domestic violence, rape, and child abuse. We have a new program available that your organization may find useful with staff, individuals, and community.  A key message in this program and one that DV survivors need to hear is that there is hope. The women in this program who are survivors from a shelter in Utah  speak candidly and movingly about what they went through. The message is inspirational and poignant. If they made it out and are living life so can you.

Gift From Within has developed a unique method for isolated trauma survivors to correspond with one another through our Support Pal Network .   We match up isolated trauma survivors around the globe through email and regular mail. This is especially useful for survivors who don't have access to support groups and is especially helpful in conjunction with therapy.    

Video/DVD Survival From Domestic Violence: Stories of Hope and Healing

Gift From Within, a nonprofit organization dedicated to trauma survivors is pleased to announce the exclusive rights to distribute "Survival From Domestic Violence: Stories of Hope and Healing." The film was produced by Dr. Angie Panos. Dr. Panos  has more than twenty years experience in traumatic stress treatment, dealing with war refugees, domestic violence, victims of rape, and child abuse.  She is a Gift From Within Board Member.

This film presents stories of women who transformed their lives after living through domestic violence.  The steps they took to create safety, build a support system and find independence are described.  Through their first hand accounts they give other victims hope that healing and recovery is possible.  Part of the proceeds go to the Women’s Mental Health Task Force in Sandy , Utah .

Available in DVD or VHS

$30.00 plus shipping

RT: 14 Minutes

Trauma and Sexual Violence Educational Videotapes Home Page

http://giftfromwithin.org/html/video8.html#8

  August Greetings,

Within this last month, many new and wonderful things are unfolding for Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Shawls:

  • Our two online groups have merged to become one for easier access for all.  Please visit and join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SheilasShawls to learn more about the projects, volunteer to create, collect, distribute or donate, become a Volunteer Knitter or State Representative, or to let us know of people and places in your area who could benefit from receiving Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves.
  • We're very happy to share that several great new folks have offered to help in the following ways:

Volunteer Knitters: Connie from MN and Ida from upstate New York .  Thank you!

New State Reps:   Danielle in IL, Renee in MN, Ida in NY, Vicki in TX.    Thank you!

  • Note:  Would those who have already been knitting or 'repping' for Sheila's Shawls contact me, so we can connect -- and so I can add your names and contact information to our growing lists of Volunteer Knitters and State Reps. (I'll be away Aug 6-16, so there may be a little delay in my getting back to you.  Thanks.)

 Here are a few of the messages we've received this month from those who've found our Sheila's Shawls group:

  • I love to knit and crochet and was touched when I read about this group ...
  • Hi. I am a former abuse victim, but victim no more!! I am an RN who is interested in forensic nursing, helping abused and sexually assaulted women, and this is a wonderful way to do it!
  • I am so honored to be a member of this group...anything anyone needs, just ask.  I am hoping and praying that I can be an inspiration to some folks, and can help others...
  • My mother was given one of the shawls and she was very emotional.  She stated that she will sleep with it and cherish it.  This is a good idea, for when it was given to us, my mother stated that she felt like a load was lifted off of her. 
  • God bless you for all you do to bring comfort and peace to unraveling lives.

  Special Announcement:   We're overjoyed to announce a wondrous new connection with the musician Marina Raye -- "The Feminine Voice of the Native Flute" -- who plays the most soothing and healing music I've ever heard ;-) (www.marinaraye.com) Marina is graciously and generously donating tapes and CDs of her music to Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves!  Very soon, each time we gift someone with the comfort of a healing shawl or scarf, we'll also be able to enclose a gift of soothing sounds of healing music.  We offer many, many thanks to Marina for her generous spirit and amazing gifts!  (I'm happy to share Marina's been so moved by our work that she has picked up her needles and yarn again -- and is knitting now for the first time in 35 years…yes!)

 We look forward to more wonderful ways and connections to move this work forward and to reach those in need.  Please let me know if there's any we can help you – or, if there are ways that you can help us ;-)  Thanks!

  Peace be in the heart -- and peace be in the home.

 Susan Bourne

http://allhealing.net

National Coordinator

Sheila's Shawls & Paul's Scarves

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SheilasShawls

For the finale of the newsletter I would like to leave you with a poem:

Adaptation for Pakistan of Poem

“I Got Flowers Today”

By Paulette Kelly

Resent as inspired by the dance/drama about domestic violence

homicide at the Women's Worlds Congress 2005 - Seoul , Korea .

I GOT FLOWERS TODAY

I got flowers today.

It wasn’t my birthday. And he said a lot of

    cruel things that really hurt.

I know he must be sorry

Because he gave me flowers today.

I got flowers today.

My mother-in-law tried to take them.

She says I am useless and deserve to be hurt.

But, he did give me flowers today.

I got flowers today.

The food I cooked did not please him.

He threw me against the wall and tried to choke me.

It seemed like a nightmare, but it was real.

I got flowers today.

My mother says it is my duty to serve him.

Long sleeves and a veil don’t hide the cuts

     and bruises this time.

But he gave me pretty flowers.

I got flowers today.

Last night he beat me worse than other times.

I cannot take the children and leave him.

I have no place to go, no money, just shame.

But he did give me nice flowers.

I got flowers today.

Today was a very special day.

It was the day of my funeral.

Last night he killed me – with kerosene and flames.

If only I had asked a women’s program for help.

So, I got flowers today.

For the last time!

Take Care,

Cassie
Cassie.pritchard@okstate.edu

 

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