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October 18  Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Next week is National Silent Witness Day, October 18. Even if you are not having an event on that day, please pause to honor all our Witnesses in some way yourself, thank them for what they have done for this country, and rededicate yourself to the goal of zero domestic homicides by the year 2010.

I can't help but tell you how beautiful this fall is in Minnesota. When I drive down the blocks in my neighborhood I feel like I am entering a crimson and gold cathedral. It is one of the lovliest falls in memory.

I just returned from Wyoming where I attended the October Silent Witness event, attended by 300 people in Riverton. It was compelling and touched me deeply. Every time I am with the Witnesses, I hear their silent voices asking us to represent them. More on Wyoming later in the newsletter. 



Gail Heller (SW Coordinator, CHOICES, Columbus), Julie Steck (new SW Coordinator, JR. League, Cleveland), Nadene Hanson (Sarasota, new email), Shannon Knight (Laurel Cty Family Violence Council, Kentucky), Mahanz Harrison (Silent Witness, Pittsburgh), Shirley Martinez, Nancy Dawson (Victim Services, Wyoming), Family Crisis Center (Rexurd, Idaho),





Marcia McKenzie reports that Alaska is having another event in October. Our Witnesses are traveling to Dillingham, on the west coast of Alaska, for use by the local shelter as part of DV Awareness month before they come to Juneau! So we have a "two-fer" this month!
*Cheers for Alaska. Go for it!

We heard from Jeannie Conner,Chairman of the Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee. She writes: We represent 13,500 women and have many Silent Witness coordinators as active members...Recently we sponsored 3 domestic violence bills in their legislature: AB578 -- provided for teacher training on identifying domestic violence AB558 -- provided for age-appropriate domestic violence education in the classroom SB563 -- corrected an anomoly in our penal code which , when passed, will give equal protection to all victims (the current law gives less protection to ex-spouses and ex-cohabitants). AB578 is still working it's way through the legislature, AB558 was vetoed by our governor yesterday, and SB563 is awaiting signature on the Governor's desk. Our leagues became involved in the domestic violence issue through the Silent  Witness program, and there is tremendous passion from our groups to change the way domestic violence cases are treated in our justice system.
*Thanks Jeannie for that report. It is wonderful to see how Silent Witness groups have branched out to do this great legislative work.

And from Monterey, Chris Haupt writes: Here in Monterey, California we will be displaying the silent witnesses at a DV prevention conference co-sponsored by YWCA and Women's Crisis Center. It is an all day event focusing on the effects of DV on children and is open to the community, especially professionals working in this area.
*Great work, Chris and Company. Keep us posted.

This year the Danbury, CT DV Task Force will sponsor an all day Educational conference entitled "the Road to Hope" on October 8th. It will begin with Keynote Speaker Kersti Yllo, the author of "Wife Abuse" and co-author of "Rape of Wives" and continue on with four different workshops and a panel discussion with a Court Planner, a pro-bono attorney and a legislative monitor. The Silent Witnesses will be displayed during the conference. We would welcome those of you who are interested. If so, please either contact me by return e-mail,The Women's Center of Greater Danbury, 2 West St. Danbury, CT 06810.  Also in CT, at noon on October 18th, the Witnesses will be displayed in the downtown Hartford Library (if its a nice day, they will be on the lawn) and  state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will speak along with the acting police chief (a Black woman who is a terrific orator) and Patty Cohen-Hecht who headed up the project of building the state's Witnesses. The event will be concluded by a chilling song sung by Wendy Wallach-DeLucia called "She'll Never Walk Again" and be covered by statewide TV and other forms of the media.
*What a wonderful month CT is having with Silent Witnesses. Thanks and good luck with the rain on Oct. 18th.

Pauline Gyan reports these events going on in Delaware: DE Coalition Press Event: Kick off for DV Awareness MOnth and launching of the public awareness Campaign of radio PSAs. Senator Biden Press conference: announcing the Bell Atlantic initiative to donate 911 phones for victims of dv. Location: St. Francis Hospital. Beebe Medical Hosp-- Hands are not for hitting. Emergency room staff marking National screening Day Edgemoor Terrace: Community Tribute Service, "I will remember you." This community, who experienced homicide due to dv, will have a tribute in memory of the dv victim and all other dv murdered victims in DE. It will include candle light vigil, with music and poetry.
*Thanks Delaware and thanks to our national advisory board member, Sen. Joe Biden. Great work. We applaud you.

A note from Stephanie Lighter of NCJW Boca-Delray Section, who writes: We will be part of a South Palm Beach Domestic Violence Coalition and we will have our March and candlelight vigil on Oct 11. Present at the ceremonies will be the State Attorney for Palm Beach Mr. Barry Krischer. We will have our newly acquired Silent Witnesses (29) on display. I will report later with press coverage.

Sarasota:A note from Nadene Hanson about their activity. Tomorrow I take our new 5 SW to our AAUW meeting. About 75 will attend. Sarasota County has had 12 victims so far this year. We only have 5 SW as the others are either new or not through the courts. Yesterday the County  Commissioners declared this month to be Prevention Month. Five from the coalition attended.
*Keep up the good work in displaying the Witnesses. So sad to hear of so many victims but we'll keep moving forward with programs that heal!!

Read this powerful story about Ohio from Patrick O'Donnell (Dayton): The woman from the YWCA is picking up the Silent Witnesses this morning to set up for a week-long exhibit there. We're fully booked for October...churches, city council meeting rooms, shopping malls, State Farm Insurance's "grand hallway" at their corporate offices in Dublin, Ohio (1,500 employees will pass by the Silent Witnesses as they walk through the hallway leading to the cafeteria), a police department lobby, hospitals. This morning the sister of a woman murdered by an ex-husband called. She wanted to know if her sister would be among the Silent Witnesses. When I told her yes, she was so grateful. She cried. I cried. This is an amazing thing. Thank you.
*It is an amazing thing. We are all touched by it. Keep touching others.

Nancy Mooney of the JR. League of Ann Arbor sent me their award-winning video andaccompanying program for high school/college dating violence prevention. It is called "In Loveand IN Danger." They have also developed brochures on abuse in dating relationships thatthey have distributed to physicians offices, shelters, high schools, youth groups, libraries,Planned Parenthood etc. If you would like copies of the brochure or would like to purchase the video and teen program please contact Nancy at 810-225-1878 email mooney@provide.net
*Thanks Nancy for this fine work.The Jr. League is working hard in Ann Arbor. We really apprecite it. Michigan was the first state after MN to join SW. YES!

Jerri Miller writes us that they just finished a very successful two day training using Dr. Stosny (Stosny Treatment) and Connie Fox (Court Watch) as the presentors. They are quite excited about the next phases and plan to get a few people certified in the Stosny model, and develop a web site and a video tape of a court watch workshop to use around the state to encourage court watch programs. As for their October events, she writes: Things are coming together for next week. Lots of activities planned, and we are still working on the procession using the Highway Patrol for the 18th. All activities will be in Great Falls this year, starting with the Witnesses on display at Malmstrom Air Force Base. There will be a Friendship Walk on Wednesday the 20th. "Crimes Against the Mind & Body" will be held on October 21 & 22 at the CrossTown Business Center. Self-defense workshop will be held at the High School Campus for both men and women. And, the final activity will be a mock trial on the 21st dealing primarily with youth in need cases All in all, exciting times in Montana!
*Exciting certainly is the word for it. We're so thrilled about all this activity and forward movement. YES!

Emily Heilbrun writes from Oregon about new Silent Witness stories: We just sanded down and repainted our 18 witnesses, and repaired and replaced shields as needed. We also asked for and got input from all over the state on womento add to the exhibit. It was a sobering experience for me to receive news clippingand stories from all over about so many women, and know there are  certainly others I don't know about. We are not in a position at this time to add more figures to our original 18, so we put some "newer" stories in place of some of the older ones, and plan to make an accompanying exhibit of some sort that will have all the shield stories somehow incorporated into it. Now the dates of our witnesses range from 1993-1999. I'd like to say thank you again to everyone who was so helpful in getting me information and helping with this  transition, and to the volunteers who helped with repainting, and with the exhibits that are scheduled around Oregon.
*It is always sad to hear about the new Witnesses. But it always renews my urgency to move to the next steps of eliminating these tragedies.Thanks for your good work Emily.

Mahnaz Harrison of the Pittsburgh NCJW tells of their SW Activities: We are in the process of desighning a banner. We also will be showing the exhibit in city hall or court house next week, with Jane Orie the Pa house of Representatives. We will have a drive for women's shelter through Rodef shalom temple and we are exhibiting at the Highmarks which is a regional health care provider.
*Sounds like there's a lot going on in Pittsburgh. Thanks to all of you who work on this. Keep up the good work.

And from the highly energetic Nancy Rafi: I have been diligently getting the Witnesses booked at MANY sites for October - have only a few days open where they won't be on public display. Our events thus far include a gala concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Women's Center of RI, including many nationally known musicians - the Witnesses will be in the lobby with about 2000 people filing through during the evening. On the 6th, they will be at two different events - both vigils to honor domestic violence victims. On the 15th they will be at the RI Coalition's Statewide conference, and then at their gala event in the evening. We will be having our Silent Witness day of remembrance and march to end the silence on Saturday, Oct 16th. It has turned out to be quite a collaborative effort, and we're going to have speakers from the RI Victim's Advocacy & Support Center, the Women's Center of RI, the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Director of a local funeral home, and several family members. We're really excited about this event, and have been getting a lot of feedback from local agencies about attendance. See how things can work when we all come together! The Witnesses will also be seen this month on the campuses of Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University, University of Rhode Island, and,at Brown University. Brown has asked us to put together a vigil and educational program to be presented on campus on October 26th - Yeah!

Also an update - we did our FIRST memorial vigil for a young woman murdered in July of 1999. We were able to work with her family through the RIVASC program, and together with them and the Samaritans, we presented a comprehensive program to remember, honor and educate about domestic violence in the community of North Providence where the murder occured. Laurie's (the victim) boyfriend Sal, who was also shot and wounded by her ex-boyfriend, was able to attend the service. He was unable to attend Laurie's funeral since he was in the hospital recovering from major surgery, so this was an opportunity for him to see the community come together to remember her and feel their support. He could not have been more greatful, and it made me feel great to be a small part of that. I was able to speak that night about how I had personally been a victim of DV in that very community, and I think it was quite impactful when I reminded people that it DOES happen next door to you. After the candlelight remembrance in the garden, we gathered for coffee & pastries, and Laurie's family expressed an interest to have a Silent Witness made for her - so the healing continues!
*Indeed, the healing does continue. Keep that healing coming. This is the month we are reminded the most how much we all need it.

Karla Mantillo of DCCACV reports: We do have a Silent Witness exhibit which is being used this month in various locations around the city.
*We'd love to hear more about the DC exhibit. Keep us posted.

The Wyoming SW event was momentous. Gay Woodhouse, the Attorney General of WY who was instrumental in bringing SW to WY was the mistress of ceremonies. She was given a leadership award for her strong involvement with the cause of DV in that state. The program included a roll call of all 44 of their Silent Witnesses. Then they "retired" several Witnesses so they could add the new victims stories to the current figures. They made beautiful felt envelopes for the shields and gave them to the families. This was very moving as family members hugged the organizers and thanked them for this special recognition of their loved one. One special SW figure now contains small plagues reprsenting each of the "retired" Witnesses. This is a way for states to keep the original exhibit in tact without it getting too large and cumbersome to travel. The youth of the area participated in the ceremony by doing Native American dances and other songs and dances of various cultures. The whole event was preceded by a two mile march to the park in the middle of town.
*I was so moved by the whole event and by the hospitality of the people in Wyoming. They are forging ahead on Results projects and there is a lot of excitment there. I am grateful to Sharon Montagnino who heads up the Victim Services there for her fine leadership. And also thanks to those I met who work so closely with her, Shirley Martinez, Nancy Dawson, Jan Mc Williams, Denise Vigi,(who drove the WY Witnesses to Washington), Pat Sexton, Vickie Powell, Sheryl Hudson-Jolley.



I would like to use some pictures of women who have become Silent Witnesses for our Results book which is nearly complete. If you would like to send me a photo of a woman who is a SW and her story (Two or three sentences) IN THE NEXT WEEK, I would appreciate it. I can't guarantee which ones will be in the book, but a photo in the book would be a tribute to all of them. Send them to Janet Hagberg  7 Sheridan Av. So. M'pls, MN 55405. Thanks.

To Any Woman Who Is In or Has Been In an Abusive Marriage/Partnership: For over twenty years I was part of the "ideal couple": beautiful daughter, good health, good looks and no fnancial worries. As far as family and firends knew, we had a solid, loving relationship. But no one heard my having to ask for money and needing to explain how I planned to spend it. No one heard the endless disparaging remarks about my family. No one experienced his saying one thing, then doing something contradictory. No one witnessed how he undermined my work and my dreams. No one realized he was leeching the life out of me. No one saw his trying to destroy my soul. The verbal and emotional abuse I survived represents a minute portion of what is happening to thousands of women every day. I invite you to share your experience with me, in the form of a letter, (via email or PMB 344, 25 NW 23rd Pl. Ste 6, Portland, OR 97201-5599), as I prepare a body of work, which will address spousal/partner abuse of women. Whatever you are willing to share, I would like to include.Please know that I will keep all names and locations strictly  confidential. Feel free to use a pseudonym if you prefer. If you would like to verify my credentials as an artist, please contact Sharon Marcus and/or Lisa O'Brien at The Oregon College of Art & Craft, 8245 SW Barnes Road, Portland, OR 97225.Because of my deadlines for producing this work, I ask that you send me yours letters by November 30, 1999. Ellen Reardon

Safe Families, Safe Children Conference To Focus On Use Of Community Policing To Break Cycle Of Domestic Violence More than 300 law enforcement practitioners and domestic violence advocates from the across the Midwest are expected to attend Safe Families, Safe Children, a  regional conference sponsored by the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute, focusing on domestic violence prevention and intervention. The conference will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Nov. 8 - 10, 1999 and is funded through the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing. The conference will focus on the use of community policing to combat domestic violence. Community policing is a crime fighting strategy that encourages law  enforcement to work in partnership with local residents to solve crime problems. In addition, the conference will feature workshops addressing children as victims, witnesses and perpetrators of domestic violence. These workshops will also explore how family violence, either physical, emotional or through neglect, can drive children to lash out in school or elsewhere in the community. Several nationally renowned speakers, including Sheila Wellstone of Minnesota; Lem Burnham, vice president of player and employee development, National Football League; and James Doyle, Wisconsin attorney general, are scheduled to speak at the conference. CALL DIMITRI 612-851-7290

Just a reminder that the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses and the London Family Court Clinic are co-hosting the 1999 International Conference on Children Exposed to Domestic Violence in Vancouver from October 27-29, 1999. For a detailed program and information on registration, please contact the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses at:tel: 604-669-6943
fax: 604-682-6962 e-mail: bcysth@istar.ca website http://home.istar.ca/~bcysth


Today I leave you with a powerful poem by Mary Oliver. She always blows me away. This one is from West Wind--Poems and Prose Poems, 1997.

You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing.
But, listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart's little intelligence, and listen to me.

There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks--when you hear that unnmistakable pounding--when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming--then row, row for your life toward it.


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