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August 23, 2002

Dear Friends,
The news from the states/countries is so compelling this week, I am (almost) speechless. Read it and cheer yourselves on, you angels.  We have so many people out there that are now passing on information, programming and support, and helping others become angels in their part of the world.  We can never have enough angels. If you have not seen the movie, Pay it Forward (as opposed to pay it back), I would highly recommend it. The idea behind the movie is compelling in its simplicity and profound in its impact. It is one of the principles that we live by within Silent Witness. I've seen it happen again and again within our initiative.

Val, Julie Kaye (Rainbow House shelter, Marinette, WI, new SW exhibit), Sarah Somers (Texoma Council of Government, Sherman, TX, new SW exhibit), Donna Hasse (Emergency room nurse, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, VA Beach, VA), Kate Faulke (DV Death Review Coordinator, Columbus, OH), Robin Graham (Volunteer Director, Quigley House Shelter, Orange Park, FL), Diane Dahm (Prevention Education Specialist, Womansplace, McKeesport, PA), Patricia Shaffer (DV Awareness Committee, Lowell, MA), Saraan (Administrator, Crisis Centre, , Bahamas)

States on Board for October events: 14 states on board so far.
Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan,  Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wyoming.

Countries on Board for October-November events: Silent Witness and 16 Days Against Violence
Cayman Islands, Hungary, United States.

Please let me know ASAP if you are planning an event, even if you don't have the details. It saves us making calls to everyone!!


San Diego Update from Casey Gwinn, San Diego City Attorney:

On September 1, 2002 we will open the San Diego Family Justice Center in downtown San Diego.  It is a one stop shop approach to services for victims of domestic violence and promises to be one of the most exciting efforts ever pursued in San Diego.  The Family Justice Center is being developed in two phases.  In Phase I, over 120 domestic violence professionals will come together in 27,000 square feet in downtown San Diego to provide services to domestic violence victims and their children.  The San Diego Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit will be housed in the Justice Center (26 detectives + 14 support staff).  The City Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit will be housed with the detectives in the Justice Center (13 prosecutors + 20 support staff).  The Probation Department, the DA's Office, Border Patrol, CPS, APS, social services, children's counseling programs, legal advocates, victim advocates, and over 20 community agencies will also be housed together within the Justice Center.  The vision is for all services to provided from one location instead of victims being referred from agency to agency to agency.  Phase I will also include a Forensic Medical Unit on-site to provide medical examinations and treatment for domestic violence victims and their children.

Phase II of the Family Justice Center envisions expanding the one stop shop approach to include child abuse, elder abuse, and sexual assault professionals all being housed together with domestic violence professionals.  We are kicking off a $10 million capital campaign on October 19th to begin raising funds to purchase a building near the courthouse that will make available 60,000 square feet for Phase II.

One of the most exciting components of the Family Justice Center will be a unique camping facility in the mountains of East San Diego County designed especially for domestic violence victims and their children.   The City has already leased land at one of the City's nine lakes for this incredible place of healing and restoration.  The camp will offer waterskiing, wakeboarding, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, sailing, crafts, and a host of other activities for domestic violence victims, child abuse victims, and at risk teens.  The San Diego Center for Children, a nationally respected child mental health center will operate the camp in conjunction with the San Diego Family Justice Center.

The Silent Witness vision will be incorporated into the Family Justice Center and into the camp.

This are very exciting times for us here in San Diego. If any one wants more information about the Family Justice Center, they can contact Assistant City Attorney Gael Strack at 619 533-5515 or email her at gstrack@sandiego.gov.  There will also be information available at www.sandiegodvunit.org.

*Thanks, Casey. This IS exciting news and so far reaching for the families that are survivors of domestic violence. Thanks for being a model for all of us, and thanks for your continuing support of Silent Witness.

And from Barbara Arnold, our friend in Ophthalmology (who teaches at UC Davis), we got this interesting historical note:

I was first introduced to the concept of battered babies and child abuse as a junior medical student in 1966.  My pediatrics professor at the University of Colorado, Dr. Kempe's, first identifying publication had occurred in 1964 in JAMA, yet it took so many years for people to first  begin to understand child abuse, and even longer for the understanding of intimate partner abuse. It is a slow but ever increasingly successful process that we keep educating colleagues about the medical features of these problems. We held the 5th Annual Summer Symposium for Women in Ophthalmology August 1-4 in Aspen, CO. One of our featured lectures was on non-accidental trauma in children.

*Barbara, thank you for the influence you have had on your profession by raising awareness of partner violence with them at all these meetings. You are doing wonderful work.

This wonderful note from Michael Morris, an author in Florida:
Thank you for the terrific program you have established.  I first became aware of Silent Witness through the Greensboro, NC chapter of Junior League. My mom and I were in a situation of domestic violence with my biological father.  Neither of us were spared the brunt of his fury and internal problems.  As my mother recently put it, we were no more than property to him.  That statement sent a chill down my spine because I had always felt the same way but had never verbalized it.

Our discussion came about as a result of my first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass.  It's Erma Lee Jacob's journey in finding a new life for herself and the granddaughter she is raising.  After they flee an abusive home they end up in Wiregrass, Alabama where an elderly socialite takes them under her wing.  Soon the trio join forces to save their refuge and to establish a local shelter against the apathy of city officials.

I am attaching the press release on the book.  I was pleased to get involved in a fund-raiser for the shelter in my hometown in Florida.  If there is anyway I can support your efforts please let me know.

Keep up the great work! Michael Morris www.aplacecalledwiregrass.com

*Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that you wrote this and hearing from a man in this situation is moving. The reviews of your book are great and we wish you well. We'll talk of ways in which we can work together, as you suggested.

Here is the latest news from Gyorgyi Toth and the Hungarian exhibition by NANE Women's Rights Association:

We've received a USD 5000 funding from OSI Network Women's Program for media activities on the 16 days of activisim against VAW. Our proposal was to create an enlarged (and numberwise more representative) SW exhibition as a good "event opportunity" for the media. The funders liked the idea, which is great, because this is money well invested, since the figures will be hopefully durable beyond these 16 days, and we'll be able to make larger exhibitions in the future (or several smaller at once). It is hard to say at this point, how many figures exactly we will be able to create (currency fluctuations, price changes), but we are targeting 50 figures (according to a 1998 data, AT LEAST this many women are murdered by (ex)partners each year in Hungary (population 10 million).

Just as last year, we were present a whole week long on the "Island Festival", a seven-day long open door cultural festival with an audience
mainly between 16-25 year olds, the daily number of visitors to the islandwas between 40 and 65 thousand. The Festival has a regular area for NGOs and other organizations that do charitable work or public services. We were lucky this year, as we had a larger grassy area between our tent and the path, so we could spread the witnesses quite well. Although volunteers were there every day for information and counseling (both of which was requested during the seven days), most of the work was done by the SW Exhibition, since going up to the wooden figures and reading the stories seems to require less courage than walking up to the live women behind a folding table full of flyers. Also, even those who would not walk up to the witnesses, saw the group of red silhouettes and our B1 size poster saying "Every fifth woman is physically abused by her husband or partner". A memorable fact is, that this year we were placed very close to the Holocaust Memorial Exhibition, and we've exchanged experiences with the staff of that tent about minimalizing and denial, which seems to be common techniques both with genocide and femicide.

And last but not least, the SW movement has got a place in the Council of Europe's new HR training manual, COMPASS. This is not entirely by chance, as I have cooperated and am again cooperating with the European Youth Center, Budapest, a Council of Europe institution, on violence against women issues, I was asked for input for and feedback on the parts about violence against  women.

*This is fabulous, all the activity and new arenas you have found. I remember when one of our US activists was traveling in Hungary and happened onto that island festival, seeing the SW figures and the sign in Hungarian. She was thrilled and took photos, letting us know that there was a SW presence in Hungary. I'm so glad that we connected and now you are part of the network and doing such wonderful things to save women's lives in Hungary. More power to you.

Massachusetts: We need your help!!!
Nancy Kwant (Peace at Home) and Willy Greenbaum (Lyle, MA men against violence) would like to know if anyone has any programming for youth using the Silent Witnesses? Have any of  you wonderful activists used the Silent Witnesses with kids? Would you please let us know about it. Email Nancy and copy me as well so I can put a summary on the web site and in the newsletter. Nancy's email is nckwant@aol.com and my email is jhagberg@mn.rr.com

And here is a great summary of SW events in October from Nancy:

Okay, here in MA, we've already got people calling and reserving SW for events in October.  So far we have the Battered Women's Resources Inc. in Leominster, the South Shore Community Coaltion for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is taking them for their annual Service of Remembrance and Healing, CCHERS will be hosting them for two weeks by displaying them in various health centers around the Boston area, the Westwood League of Women Voters will also host them for a candelight vigil as well, and the Boston Public Library has agreed to host them for an entire month.  I'm going to be re-contacting The Body Shop to see if they will once again display a witness for the month of October.  I'm working with Willy Greenbaum who is working with a new group of men to make new figures.  This is a group of men in Lynn, MA and it looks like they will be displaying them at various places such as City Hall and North Shore Community College.  So, we are off t! o a good start and I'm sure more phone calls will be coming in.  I'd also like to remind everybody of Peace at Home's handbook, Domestic Violence:  The Facts, which is a great resource to have for October.  We also have a Human Rights Coloring Book.  Both are available to order through our website, www.peaceathome.org.  Other than that, the Lyle men just came back from a conference over the weekend hosted by the Haitian Domestic Violence Roundtable in Massachusetts and their presentation of the figures was excellent according to people who attended.  Hope all is well and good luck to everybody as Domestic Violence Awareness Month approaches.

*Nancy and Willy, thanks for this opportunity to collaborate on youth programming. I hope we can share lots of ideas from around the country. Great work in MA.

A group in Lowell, MA wrote us that they are busy with DV activities this fall, including a Silent Witness event. Pat Shaffer, of the DV Awareness Committee, reports that this week they have a drive going on for backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies for children in shelters.  So far they have had an overwhelming response.

*This is exciting work you are doing Pat and Company. We love that the Silent Witnesses are spreading across Massachusetts. We've love for each city to have their own set of figures that represent women in their own area.

Rhode Island:
More wonderful news from Nancy Rafi, in RI:
On September 25, 2002 we are co-sponsoring, with the YWCA of Northern RI and Roger Williams University's Women's Center, a conference entitled "Empowering the young women of RI".  It begins at 9:00 AM on September 25th at the Roger Williams University's Bay Point Conference Center in Portsmouth, RI.  Our Keynote speaker is ROSALIND WISEMAN - she'll be talking about her new book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" and all about her "Owning Up" program - one of SWNI's results projects.  Also speaking will be Dr. Maureen Macera, Deputy Superintendent of the Woonsocket School Department about mentoring & being positive role models for young women.  Then we'll have a panel discussion about how to get communities involved in creating safe and empowering places for young women...sitting on the panel will be members from the Women's Resource Center of South County, Child & Family Services, and the Women's Resource Center of Newport & Bristol Counties.!   Then Rosalind will do a booksigning.  Total cost for the day, including continental breakfast, free parking & buffet lunch is $25.00.

We're also moving ahead with our plans for our October 18th March to End the Silence in Providence - this will make our 5th year for having this event.  We're presenting a panel of people from throughout the state that a victim's family and friends would encounter after a dv murder - so that everyone can "connect" to the people who are doing the work in our state, and learn what services they provide for the community.  We're also going to be dedicating a new Witness - Barbara Lombardi - who was murdered in March 2002.  Her friends have requested that we make a Witness for her and they're going to say a few words about her to the audience.  We'll be led in our march, once again, by bagpipers and mounted police officers, and we'll march through the streets of Providence by candlelight to the state house where we'll read the names of our Witnesses over the past 20 years.

Lots going on, and more to happen in the spring.  And best of all - we're going to have a new SW project in RI - located in South Providence at Destiny House.  They're hoping to get their project completed in time for our march in October - a real group of go-getters!  We're excited to be able to be in this community, as we haven't had any contacts there before, so special thanks go out to Melanie Martin for connecting with Candy McSwain, the Executive Director at Destiny House.  This will make 8 Silent Witness projects in RI.  We're so proud of our little state!  The healing continues!

*Nancy and Melanie, you should be proud of your little state. You are doing wonderful things there and we are proud of you, especially all your college work there.

Sarah Somers write us about a new exhibit--and an inspirational story--in rural Texas:
My work involves a 3 county region in North Texas - rural counties. I saw TCFV's exhibit when I was still living in Austin (I've moved back to my old hometown after 21 years living in the "big city".)  We need the drama of your message here.  I have now found a
supplier of Sintra so that the silhouettes will be light and easy to transport. I'll keep you updated with our information as it happens.

The woman at the plastics company who sold me the Sintra (at a vastly reduced price) has offered to bring it up from Dallas (almost a 4 hour round trip for her) to save our program the delivery charges.

We are having an Expo in October entitled "You Can't Beat Family" at ourlocal mall.  The different disciplines who serve victims of domestic
violence in our community will have informational material at booths (expected to be about 20 in all.)  I wanted to use the Silent Witnesses as the :"glue" that weaves between each booth and holds the disciplines together: law enforcement, victim service workers, prosecutors, the
judiciary, economic independence help mates, etc. Thanks for the example and inspiration you give to us all.

*Sarah, This story is so inspiring, first that you remembered the Witnesses when you moved back home and are bringing them there, and second that the woman who sold you the sintra board would travel so far to deliver it. If you get us her name we can thank her personally.


New Silent Witness exhibits:
Marinette, WI (Julie Kaye at Rainbow House), Sherman, TX, (Sarah Somers at Texoma Council of Governments), Orange Park, FL (Robin Graham, Quigley House shelter).

New Silent Witness board member:
Welcome to Barbara Spradley who is our newest board member. She was at the original march in Minnesota in 1990 when we unveiled the Witnesses and she has attended all the major events and celebrations since then. She is a retired professor of public health nursing at the University of Minnesota. She has given countless hours of her time and energy to support Silent Witness over the years and we are proud to have her serve on our board. Thanks to Neil, her husband, too, who has supported us and attended several events as well.

MINCAVA Electronic clearinghouse- violence prevention site since 1995.
The MINCAVA (MN Center Against Violence and Abuse) electronic clearinghouse provides links to information on a wide array of violence including child abuse, school and community violence, hate crimes and violence against. women. They provide an online library with close to 150 full-text documents available free of charge. The main site that Silent Witness activists might be interested in is Violence Against Women Online www.waw.umn.edu  More than 2,000 visitors from 65 countries come to the two web sites each day.

Empower Launches First School Violence Prevention Institute:
On August 7-9, Rolalind Wiseman and Empower launched its first ever School Violence Prevention Institute near Washington DC. It included a series of seminars and staff led workshops that trained participants in Owning Up, their gender violence prevention program. Rosalind will be in Rhode Island for this same type of training this September 25 (see note above in RI section). If you are at all interested in Rosalind's ground breaking program for teens, this would be excellent training. Her new book, Queen Bees and Wannabes is a wonderful resource and her program has been shown to make a difference in the lives of adolescents. If you'd like to purchase the book for $12 email empower at empower@empowered.org.

I leave you today with a thought provoking idea from Robert Frost:

Education of the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.



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