September 30, 2005
I have a confession to make this week. Up until last week I had not read the books that we provide; The Silent Witness Story and the Results book. WOW are they powerful! Just think what you are doing this next month for Domestic Violence awareness month is because of a group of women who wanted to make a difference and just started brainstorming ideas! It is amazing!
Here is an update written by Patty Perez that definitely gets at what I learned:
The History and Future of the Silent Witness National Initiative
It started out with a lunch conversation by a group of female artists, writers and faculty members at a Minnesota arts college who felt an urgency to speak out about the escalating number of women killed by domestic violence during the summer of 1990.
It has NOW become an international movement in which 47 states and 18 countries have exhibited life-sized, red silhouettes representing women who were killed at the hands of a husband, partner or an acquaintance.
On February 18, 1991 , more than 500 women escorted 26 silhouettes, representing the Minnesota women killed in 1990, to the state capitol. A twenty-seventh silhouette represented the unknown woman whose death went unreported. The figures were displayed in the rotunda of Minnesota 's capitol building. That day a movement was born.
"The surprise for us all at the beginning was the strong emotional reaction. We never dreamed the exhibit would have that impact," said Janet Hagberg, an author and nationally recognized speaker who helped create the original exhibit. "We were ready to put it away after the first march in Minnesota , but the witnesses were not finished yet - to put it mildly. Fifteen years later they are still not finished."
The impact did not end with the exhibits. Inspired by the effect the silent witnesses had, Hagberg and Jane Zeller formed the Silent Witness National Initiative with the hope of, one day, seeing a reduction of domestic violence homicides. The Initiative aims to provide a message of hope, help and healing for the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. The Initiative monitors various domestic violence projects, including 30 court watch programs throughout the country, coordinated community responses and the collection of national data relating to intimate partner homicide.
Hagberg has many memories from the last 15 years, but one that truly stands out is the National March to End the Silence About Domestic Violence in 1997. Family, friends and thousands of advocates carried 1500 silent witnesses in a march from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol. Hagberg remembers a little boy standing next to a Silent Witness from Vermont and saying to a friend, "That's my mom."
"I can also see the late Senator Paul Wellstone standing behind Susan Fuller at the march in Washington ," said Hagberg. "Her story is so riveting and Paul was such a great support er. That image of the two of them lingers with me."
Fuller is a domestic violence survivor who became a dedicated support er of the Initiative after the march. She currently organizes Maine 's Silent Witness Initiative.
Hagberg said the witnesses often inspire immediate and emotional reactions.
"The reaction I see time after time is this: someone sees the exhibit and has to stop and look more closely; when they are close and read one of the shields, they pause and absorb it. Then they slowly move to the next silhouette and the next, and they usually stop and just feel the loss or the impact of it all. Many times they weep." Hagberg said. "It was Tipper Gore's reaction when she first saw the exhibit in Washington when we took it there in 1993. I still see this reaction today."
Another highlight for Hagberg has been men's involvement in the project. She spoke of men who originally furthered the movement by making the silhouettes.
"John Peterson's speech at the Washington march, spoken as a former abusive husband is etched in my memory," Hagberg said. "Although controversial at the time, it has had a lasting impact. It ignited Nancy Rafi to change her view of men and become more involved in Silent Witness, by eventually becoming director."
Other products of the initiative are Sheila's Shawls , Paul's Scarves and the Quilts for Kids projects. The shawls and scarves, named for the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, are knitted and crocheted nationwide and then donated to the families of domestic violence victims. At age 12, Augusta Rodgers of Minnesota heard about the shawl project and started Quilts for Kids , a program that sent quilts to the youngest victims of domestic violence whose mothers were killed.
As Hagberg steps down from her role, Cassie Pritchard of Oklahoma has assumed leadership of the Initiative. "The younger women are so electrified by this work, and colleges and high schools are being more active with us now," Hagberg said.
The Initiative set a goal to have zero domestic violence deaths by 2010. There has been a 50 percent decrease in non-fatal domestic violence, a 67 percent decrease in domestic violence deaths for men and a 25 percent decrease for women. As of 2001, two states, North Dakota and Vermont , had no domestic violence homicides for one year.
Today, the silhouettes of men, children and pregnant women join the original female figures. These red images remain etched in our memories. The hope is that someday, we will not have to display silhouettes for women, men or children, or tell their stories and wonder how this can continue to happen.
For more information about the history and work of the Silent Witness National Initiative, visit www.silentwitness.net. To become involved in the Initiative's work, contact Cassie Pritchard at email@example.com.
I have gotten so many emails in the past two weeks of people who want to help out and the things that organizations are doing all across the country. It is invigorating. I would like to welcome:
Denise Lang Wasau, WI
Shannon Grey Wakefield , RI
Angela Bouchard Jamica Plain, MA
Gennie Lynn Tulsa , OK
Adrienne Holloway Aurora , Il
Kimberly McLean Halifax , NS
Trish McCourt Sussex , NB
Sonorra Ray Silverdale, WA
David Thomason Silverdale, WA
Michael Crisostomo Hagatna Guam
Judi Gustafson Colorado Springs, CO
Kathy Anderson Plymouth , MN
Megan Abilez Elmendorf, TX
Lynda Ayers Merritt Island , Fl
Brenda Thompson Grafton, WV
Heidi-Beth Burns Odanah, WI
Seema Kapoor Cayman Islands
Allen Black Jackie Oskaloosa, Iowa
Martina Porter Colorado Springs, CO
Bridget Eismann Post Falls, Idaho
WE NEED YOUR HELP- Need for State Coordinators:
Sean Brazzale Wyoming
Shari Hogan Monroe , NY
Jaima Cruz Monroe , NY
Melanie Martin Lawhead Rhode Island
Stacie Beard Maryland
Nanci A. Bobrow Missouri
Jim and Pam Nolan West Virginia
Vicki Meilach Illinois
Adreena Harley Michigan
Karen Parker Thompson Charlotte , NC
Leslie Frost New Jersey
Debbie Sanders Virginia
Nance Duke Colorodo
Linda Snelling South Carolina
Tamantha Mosier Oklahoma
As you can see we still need many more coordinators! I know that there are people who help and loan exhibits across the state automatically so it would be great to get the information out there for everyone. Please let me know!
PLEASE SEND ME EVENTS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH! I love email and phone calls J Please remember I am here to help in any way possible please just ask J
For the month of October there will be a newsletter out every Friday with the exception of the 22 nd!
What's Up with Sheila's Shawls?
October will be Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States .
Let's knit Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves!
Illinois : The Yarn Shop owner and her partner are very interested in sponsoring something for Sheila's Shawls! They would like to be a collection point for our Shawls and perhaps offer a
Minnesota : In Fridley , MN Totino-Grace High School has developed a knitting / crocheting group. Where people from all ages, students, teaching staff, kitchen staff, and parents all come together to create shawls and scarves for Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves. A great program to make others aware of domestic violence and multigenerational sharing.
Publicity by: There is a moving story called 'All the Wrong Men' in the October O/Oprah Magazine and watch www.femiknitz.com for an article on Sheila's shawls and Sheila Wellstone
May there be domestic peace in every home.
Susan Bourne & Renee Youngberg
NEWS FROM THE STATES and COUNTRIES:
Erica Klescewski with the Women's Resource Center at Sonoma State University is interested in bringing the Silent Witness project to campus.
From Renee Youngberg:
Violence Intervention & Prevention Inc. will display shawls and scarves along with Silent Witness Silhouettes in front of City Hall in Macon Georgia on October 7, 2005.
Michelle R. Kendrick a Victim Advocate with Army Community Service on the 411th Base Support Battalion is starting an exhibit in Heidelberg , Germany .
Grand Cayman Islands :
From Seema Kapor:
We are currently working on this year's Silent Witness March and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence program.
Oct 2 nd All Faith Leaders in OK County to receive letter from the YWCA CEO asking them to take a moral stand opposing Violence Against Women in a sermon during October
Oct 3 rd NCADV Day of Unity Statewide Silent March at noon . DVIS Creek County , Stigler and Tahlequah participating. YWCA OKC tying purple ribbons on trees at all locations. DVIS Creek County and Stigler are marching with SW Silhouettes.
Oct 4 th Durant Candlelight Vigil (20 Silhouettes)
Oct 5 th Lighting of the Capitol in Purple 7:00pm Press Conference, south steps (where statues are)
Oct 10 th Norman (6 Silhouettes)
Oct 11 th Tahlequah LadyFair
Oct 13 th Tahlequah Annual Meeting
Oct 14 th Tahlequah Christian Country Concert Fundraiser
Stigler/Quinton Event (20 Silhouettes)
Oct 19/20 th 20 Silent Witness Silhouettes on display at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City
Oct 19 th Stigler/Wilburton Event (20 Silhouettes)
Oct 20 th Ardmore Candle Light vigil (20 Silhouettes)
Oct 21 st Tahlequah Community Meeting on Batterer Intervention
OKC Chili Cook-off for law enforcement, attorneys, etc
Oct 24 th Tahlequah/Sallisaw Awards Luncheon
Oct 27 th Ardmore Healthy Lifestyles Conference (20 Silhouettes)
Oct 28 th Tahlequah/Wagoner Recognition Luncheon Rose State College Visual Art Display Contest (theme is Violence Against Women)
Oct 29 th Shawnee Project Safe/Cit. Pott. Nation Kids Fair (15 Silhouettes)
Oct. 29 th A display of shawls and DV prevention education materials at a table at the Broken Arrow , OK Crime Prevention Night Out.
Oct. 30 th FACES (Families and Communities Empowered for Safety) family Halloween outreach event at a local park. We'll display shawls and ask for volunteers to create them; we'll pass out large window magnets that say "There's No Room for Violence in Tulsa: Call 911"; we'll hand out informational DV prevention brochures that define what DV is, signs and symptoms, how to get help and how to give help, and where to find a safety plan; we'll give whistles to kids to use to call for help, if needed - we want them to learn to speak out!
Rose State College in Midwest City displaying 7 Silent Witness Silhouettes.
Shelter kids Posters on display at the Capitol courtesy Office of Attorney General.
Tulsa DVIS hosting Dating Violence Art Contest in all Tulsa schools, grades 9-12.
Altus moving 2 silhouettes from business to business in 2 counties during the whole month.
From Renee Youngberg:
Alexandria House is hosting a 5K run or 2M walk on Sat. Oct. 1, 2005 . It will be held in Bunker Lake Regional Park in Anoka County , Minnesota . Registration starts at 8:00AM and the walk kick off begins at 9:00AM . One great way to make the community aware of Domestic Violence.
North Carolina :
South Carolina :
From Linda Snelling:
This Silent Witness Project is dedicated to the victim's of Horry and Georgetown Counties ( Myrtle Beach ), South Carolina . It's been a tough year for us; there have been a total of thirteen domestic violence murders in just these two counties.
From Patty Perez:
We are preparing for Texas ' Unveiling of Silent Witnesses Tuesday, October 4 on the steps of our state Capitol building. Our governor's wife will speak, as well as our director. I have been researching stories and in contact with two survivor's families and their advocates who each survived their husbands' attempt to kill them who we hope will speak at the event. In each case, their husbands did kill themselves. We are honoring the women killed in Texas , however this year we are also highlighting the fact that Texas programs and shelters helped an estimated 88,000 victims of family violence in 2004.
We are also planning to add the reading of the victim's names this year, as our state survivor's caucus becomes involved in the project for the first time. Unfortunately, their vigil, which is held at our annual conference, was canceled along with the conference as it was in Houston two weekends after Katrina hit. We knew that the need for hotel space and the difficulties faced by our many domestic violence programs in the area in meeting the needs of both evacuees and Texas victims would deter from attendance
Virginia :From Angela Phillips:
Franklin County Family Resource Center in Rocky Mount , VA is working on a Silent Witness Exhibit for October!
Lauren Willner the Sexual Assault Prevention Projects Assistant at Gonzaga University in Eastern Washington State would like to display the silhouettes on our campus and is starting on the exhibit for Gonzaga!
From Fay Choban:
Fay Choban and Helen Bowers, my mother-in-law are very excited announce that our book has arrived. You can read more about the book, order on line or print a form to order with a check at http://www.usucceed.com/helen
From Lois A Herman :
Rural Battered Women:
Battered women living in rural areas have many of the same experiences as battered women everywhere.
But rural battered women have certain experiences and face certain barriers that are unique to rural settings.
Batterers commonly isolate their victims as one tactic of maintaining power and control over their victims. They frequently:
§ Refuse access to family vehicles or prevent a woman from getting a driver's license;
§ Ridicule her in front of friends and family so that she's reluctant to have them come to her home;
§ Accuse her of flirting or having affairs and because of this suspicion, beating her for even limited contact with another person;
§ Remove the telephone when leaving the home or calling her every hour to monitor her whereabouts;
§ Threaten or beat her when she returns from an outing with women friends;
§ Threaten to kill her if she tells anyone about the abuse.
A woman isolated in these ways has a difficult time escaping from a violent partner. She fears leaving. She fears asking someone for help. Battered women everywhere experience some form of isolation as controlled by their partner, but for rural battered women the isolation becomes magnified by geographical isolation. Other rural factors can have an impact on a rural battered woman's isolation and changes of safe shelter. Consider that:
§ A rural battered woman may not have phone service;
§ Usually no public transportation exists, so if she leaves she must use a family vehicle;
§ Police and medical response to a call may be a long time in arriving;
§ Rural areas have fewer resources available to women—jobs, childcare, housing, and health care. Easy access to these resources is limited by distance;
§ Extreme weather conditions often exaggerate isolation—cold, snow, and mud regularly affect life in rural areas and may extend periods of isolation with an abuser;
§ Poor roads thwart transportation;
§ Seasonal work may mean months of unemployment on a regular basis and result in women being trapped with an abuser for long periods of time;
§ Hunting weapons are common to rural homes and everyday tools like axes, chains, mauls, and pitchforks are also potential weapons;
§ Alcohol (and drug) use, which often increases in winter months when rural people are underemployed and isolated in their homes, usually affects the frequency and severity of abuse;
§ Traveling to the "big city" can be intimidating to rural battered women and city attitudes may seem strange and unaccepting of her ways;
§ A woman's bruises may fade or heal before she sees a neighbor, and working with farm tools and equipment can provide an easy exp lana tion of her injuries;
§ Farm families are often one-income families and a woman frequently has no money of her own to support herself and her children;
Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Domestic Violence, "Beyond the Bars: Transforming Lives...Strengthening Communities".
Hello. This year the National College of District Attorneys will present the Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Domestic Violence, "Beyond the Bars: Transforming Lives...Strengthening Communities". This year's conference will be held during Domestic Violence Awareness month, from October 23-2 7 in Reno , Nevada . This letter is to inform you of our conference and to invite you and the "Silent Witness National Initiative" to submit materials to be displayed or distributed to our attendees in our Domestic Violence Resource Center at the conference. Every year the Resource Center provides information from many different organizations and offices throughout the nation, providing attendees with information on domestic violence. The information usually consists of flyers, handouts, brochures, books, posters, etc. The Resource Center is an opportunity to not only provide more information on domestic violence itself, but it is also an opportunity to get more information out about the "Silent Witness National Initiative" to attendees nationwide. This information will be made available to judges, law enforcement personnel, therapists, crisis advocates, health care and mental health professionals, parole and probation officers, physicians, prosecutors, shelter workers, social workers, victim advocates, clergy, court administrators, paralegals, dispatch operators, legislators, school administrators, educators, survivors, and children and adult protective services personnel, member of faith communities and organized religion, and any other professionals who work on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and their families, that will be attending our conference.
IF ANYONE IS PLANNING ON ATTENDING THIS CONFERENCE AND COULD BRING ALLOW AN EXHIBIT PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I will give you resources and information to take with you!
FYI. On Oct 20th there will be a documentary on domestic violence and
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
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