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November 12  Newsletter


Dear Friends,

October was a fabulous month for Silent Witness. We're still getting reports in from states who had events. You all brought the voices of the Witnesses to the public once again so everyone could hear them calling for the healing of domestic violence in this country. Thank you all for the hard work. It is truly worth it.You are angels, every one of you.

 

WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Barb Jeffers (Cornerstone Center for Women, Mpls, new email address), Sandra conley (Crisis Services of N. Alabama), Lisa Maloney (DV Prevention Center, Colorado Springs), Kathy Federer (ND Coalition), Patricia Luck (YWCA Safe Home, Rock Springs, WY), Denise Fisher (Family Violence Coordinating council, Quincy, IL),Irene Martinez (Wyoming, coordinator October event), Malinda Dunnam (CAV program, Taos, NM), Jennifer Gardiner (School of Social Work, Perth, Australia), Fern Brown (Maryland advocate).

 

KUDOS FOR OCTOBER EVENTS:
44 STATES ON BOARD FOR OCTOBER.
We keep learning about more states who had events in October; Nebraska, New Hampshire, Colorado, Oklahoma, Alabama. Two  states just made their exhibits and didn't have time to have events, Hawaii and Utah. First I'd like to thank the ten regional directors who helped recruit so many states to be part of the October Silent Witness presence. They are

Vickie Amundson Gail Anthony
Jerri Miller Jon Fuhr
Joanne Coghill Monica Blaizgis
Lucia Nordstrom Stephanie Lighter
Jan Abbey Nadene Hanson

Give them all a round of appluase. We owe a debt of gratitide to all the state coordinators and their committees who worked tirelessly to bring the Silent Witness figures to their communitites this year. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Alabama:Sandra Conley
Alaska:Marcia McKenzie, Pauline Flanagan
Arizona: NOW, John and Diane Peterson
Arkansas: Sharon Sigmon
California: Bonnie Wong, Chris Haupt, Adele Griffin, DIana Conan
Colorado: Lisa Maloney
Connecticut: Jan Fuhr, Sheila Grossman,Maureen Whalen
Delaware: Pauline Gyan
Florida: Linda Slade, Betty Weinkle, Stephanie Lighter, Geri Haynes
Hawaii: Nancy Kreidman
Idaho: Celia Heady
Illinois: Cindy Wolfson, Debra Mize
Indiana: Jimita Potter
Iowa: Joan Kennedy, Sharon Boulder
Kansa: Ann Stern, Jan Abbey
Kentucky: Dodie Mc Kenzie
Louisiana: Kim Isham, YWCA of N. Louisiana
Maine: Susan Fuller
Maryland: Jodi Finkelstein
Massachusetts: Parkie Jones, Holly Mae Curtis
Michigan: Nancy Mooney, Grand Rapids YWCA
MInnesota: Judy Nelson, Patricia Francisco, Beryl Rock
Mississippi: Coalition, Pat Davenport
Missouri: Nanci Bobrow, Sally Katzif
Mntana: Vickie Amundson, Jerri Miller
Nebraska: Mary Rock, Joan Skogstrom, Karne Harker
New Hampshire: Jen Hunt
New Jersey: Leslie Frost, Anne Adamiak, Rosalie McGill
New Mexico: Gloria Champion
New York: Kristen Giatzis, Lillian Pfohl, MIchele Jones-Galvin
North Carolina: Donna Pygott
Ohio: Julie Steck, Beth Murray, Mary Alice McKone, Adelante, YWCA, Dorothy
Lemmey, Patrick O'Donnell, Gail Heller
Oklahoma:Liz Hooley, Marcia Smith
Oregon: Emily Deilbrun
Pennsylvania: Ruth Garfinkel, Toni O'Brien, Deborah Donahue
Rhode Island: Nancy Rafi, Sharon Kolb, Lisa Macri, Danielle Tridenti
South Carolina: Kelly Cordel, David Avant, Tamara Willard
South Dakota: Verlaine Gullickson,Shirley Erhart, Tami Davis
Texas: Laura Figuero,Pam Buremmer
Utah: Loretta Foreman
Vermont: TJ Anderson, Margo Young
Washington: Holly, Nan
Wisconsin: Kris Uhen
Wyoming: Sharon Montagnino 

 

NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES 

ALABAMA:
Sandra Conley reports that their Witnesses appeared at a local church during the month and also at a benefit concert. The Crisis Services of Northern Alabama coordinates the Silent Witness exhibit there.
*Thanks, Sandra for all the work you do. We really appreciate it.

ARIZONA:
Sandy Naatz reports from Arizona State University: We had a very busy month of October...Domestic Violence Awareness. During  October, ASU hosted it's 3rd annual "Respect Month" which includes awareness events about sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of diversity awareness, awareness about different forms of violence and oppression. We were fortunate enough to host the Silent Witness Display on October 18th (we borrowed it from NOW). We had 38 witnesses, all have been killed during this year. It was a very powerful display and we set it up for three days at different locations on campus. The last day, the witnesses were part of a display we had incorporated with the Take Back the Night March. I just wanted to Thank Everyone for your dedication to this project. I had never been involved in setting up the entire display before....The power of the project was especially driven home when, a week after the display, one of our students was murdered by her exboyfriend. I am, of course, completely saddened by this...I am having some students make a silent witness for her. Mainly, I just wanted to say that it is an honor to be involved with this project.Thanks.
*A very sad note to end your event but a huge reminder of why we do all this work. We will pledge in the name of that student to never let another murder occur.

AUSTRALIA:
A note from Jennifer Gardiner,School of Social Work and Social Policy Curtin University of Technology, Perth: I visited the USA & Canada in January 95 as part of sabbatical from Curtin University. While in the US, I learned of the silent witness and clothesline   projects and brought some documentation back with me. In 1996 I was convenor of the Domestic Violence Council of WA and gained support of the committee to have 28 witnesses produced - 26 for the women and children who had been murdered in  Western Australia in 1994, one for those whose deaths were not recorded and one for future victims. A 3rd year social work student undertook getting the silent witnesses made as part of her community project. The witnesses belong to the Domestic Violence Council of WA Inc. a non-government, non-profit advocacy group. The state of Western Australia is approx. as large as 1/4 of mainland USA. The silent witnesses and the clothesline project have travelled around the state - from the remote far north with a predominantly Aboriginal population to the far south (where considerable numbers of Aboriginal people did not survive invasion and colonisation). In fact, I believe that one of the Police Officers with the DV Action Group in a small remote town of Kununurra in the far north Kimberley region had a set of Silent Witnesses made after he saw the impact thedisplay had on local people.
*It is so wonderful to see how all these connections are made. What a wonderful story of the origin of the Silent Witnesses in Australia. We love it.

COLORADO:
Colorado Springs had quite a event with the Silent Witnesses this year. Lisa Maloney tells us that they had a gathering at a city park on a Sunday afternoon with the mayor of the city kicking off the event. A survivor spoke and the Silent Witnesses were there to tell their powerful stories. A march followed in which the Silent Witnesses were escorted around the middle of the city.
*What a wonderful event. And congratulations for getting mayoral involvement. Go Lisa.

FLORIDA:
Geri Haynes writes with news of an award for Silent Witness, Sarasota: In October, the Silent Witnesses were in the running for a  community award called the Golden Gavel. Awards are given to new projects in the community, by our local newspaper, the Sarastoa Herald, in a variety of categories. This year, two projects were awarded Certificates of Merit, one was the Silent Witnesses (Coalition to STOP Family Violence) and the other was received by our local shelter, SPARCC, for the acquisition of transitional housing units for victims.The event was attended by hundreds of the most active individuals in the community. Receiving this honor brought tremendous exposure for our ongoing efforts and the 2010 goal.
*Go Geri. This is great news..

Also from Sarasota, Nadene Hanson sent us an article that went out to 250 people in the monthly AAUW newsletter. The article described the start up of Silent Witness and the remarkable journey that Nadene made from working with the Silent Witnesses in MN to picking up with them again in Sarasota when she moved there. Now she is one of our regional directors. The article describes how the court watch program in Sarasota is making measurable reductions in family violence by tracking repeat offenders and monitoring their court cases.
*Go Sarasota. What a bunch of go-getters.

HUNGARY:
IS THIS EXCITING OR WHAT??? From Gyorgyi Toth, the Silent Witness coordinator in Hungary. The short story up to now: the witnesses were prepared some time last year. We have the stories only printed on paper, no copper plates or the like, but we are working on that. One reason is that we want to get better stories. We had no chance to interview victims' relatives (we're just about to place an ad to call such stories) we used the cases of a criminal law professor who wrote a book about the criminal aspects of battering. We cut out the legalese and put some life into the stories, but still. Once we have interview stories, we'll make some more permanent versions to be put on the chests. First we presented them during the 16 days last year. There was a press conference at the opening of both exhibitions (the second one was at the venue of a one-day human rights conference on Dec. 10). We were in the papers next day and in the evening news as well. Next we went to a very busy downtown square on March 8 this year, giving out  flyers and talking to those who were interested. There was a color picture and article on the front page of one of the big broadsheet dailies next day. The last big event at which they were presented was at the European Council's "Europe--Youth--Human Rights" Conference, held in Budapest. It had several hundred international participants from all over Europe, and the Witnesses (and  explanatory texts, flyers and the book of the above mentioned law professor) were on display next to the main conference hall, where the plenaries were held. In between, we took some of the Witnesses to various places: to a cafe where the latest issue of the only feminist magazine was celebrated, I took them to a morning TV show on one of the state channels where I sat together with the Crime Prevention Chief of the National Police HQ. In the mean time we developed great working contacts with this police officer. Since my internet posting I learned that the Crime Prevention Buerau of the National Police HQ will hold a conference on Dec. 1 this year "Ten Years of Crime Prevention" for all the police crime prevention people in Hungary. So I told him about the sixteen days and asked him, that since crime prevention NGOs will be invited anyway, could we take the Witnesses with us. So this is one fix point in the upcoming sixteen days. Again, thank you for your support.
*This is absolutely wonderful. There is so much energy in Hungary and good contacts with the larger community. We'll do everything we can to support you, Gyorgyi.

INDIANA:
Here's a heartwarming story about Gale Brocksmith. She was visiting Minnesota last April and went shopping at the Mega Mall on the day when the MN Silent Witness exhibit was on display in front of Macy's court entrance. She was very moved by the poignant display and went home thinking about it. She works for the Community Action of Evansville Indiana. Now she is looking into a similar  display at their local mall and has ordered a Silent Witness tee shirt so they can frame it and hang it in their administrative building.
*So you see, we never know how many lives we are touching when we let the Witnesses tell their stories. Keep those stories coming. We are all moved by them.

IOWA:
Sharon Boulder describes the activities of Silent Witnesses in Iowa during October: Tama County Silent Witnesses were present at the candlelight vigil in Marshalltown on 10/19/99. They were displayed at 21 sites throughout Tama County from 10/25/99 to 11/5/99. They also were present at Saturday night and Sunday morning Mass at St.Patrick's Church in Tama. A Tama County Domestice Violence Task Force speaker helped to dispel common misconceptions about domestic violence and pointed out ways in which this attitude is perpetuated by jokes, cartoons, and innuendos. It was pointed out that we are raising another generation of young men, desensitized to the subject of domestic abuse.
*Great work, Sharon and company. That's a lot of activity. Thanks for the hard work.

LOUISIANA:
The YWCA of Northwest Louisiana had a Silent Witness display last week for Week Without Violence. They write: We had begun our silent witnesses in 1996 with 6 witnesses, and had not continued it until this year. We caught up for the years we'd missed, and our display this year had 18 women and 1 child. Our YWCA is in Shreveport, La. where we have a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center.
*We didn't know there was a Silent Witness exhibit in NW Louisiana. How exciting. Please keep in touch. We love it.

MARYLAND:
Rosemary Raiman, a Silent Witness activist writes: Just wanted to let you know that our Silent Witness Program was very special and had good support from our county representatives. Warren Lupson (father of a Silent Witness) drove down to join us and tell his children's story.....it was very powerful. After the evening's presentation and introduction of our first silhouette, we were invited to display her at the county courthouse!
*Great to hear about the acceptance of your SW figure by local officials.

NEBRASKA:
Karen Harker informs us that the Silent Witness traveled to four cities in  Nebraska this October; to Kearney, to be displayed at the mall, to Lexington, to Omaha for a rally, and to LIncoln for a march. That's a lot of miles.
*Thanks Nebraska for all this hard work. Keep up the great effort.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Jennifer Hunt in the Attorney General's Office reports that five or six shelters and crisis centers used the Silent Witnesses in New Hampshire during October. They continue to be active, telling their stories all over the state.
*Thanks Jen for that update. We really applaud all that you are doing. Go for it.

NEW YORK:
Kristen Giatzis sends us this wonderful summary of the second part of their youth program called STAR: We have started a Peer Leadership program from the Teen Dating Symposium that we held last May for 14 high schools. The students came up with their own name, S.T.A.R. (Students Terminating Abusive Relationships). There are two group meetings once a month. Each meeting covers three areas:
1. Training - Defining abuse and educating peer leaders to be able to help other teens that do not trust adults.
2. "Rap Session" - students talk and facilitators LISTEN. It is shocking to hear how prevalent abuse is among our teenagers. We provide a safe environment for students to disclose their most personal stories. We end the sessions by clearing up any myths.
3. Implementation - Brainstorming for on-going awareness activities at their school.
On Wednesday Oct. 13, we staged an event at seven high schools each with some silent witness figures. We staffed a resource table and handed out over 1,000 purple ribbons for students to wear as well as lollipops. Students received STAR wallet cards complete with hotline #'s and the STAR pledge. Of the 1,000 students we talked to, nearly 200 additional students signed up to joint the STAR program. Our Silent Witness exhibit was also on display earlier in the month at the PACE University Law School Battered Women's Justice Studies Awareness Day.
*What a wonderful program, a peer leadership program. Go Kristen and company. We love it.

OHIO:
Dorothy Lemmey tells us of Silent Wtiness activity in rural Ohio: Our silent witness went up along a major highway in front of our church, East Shore Unitarian Universalist from Oct 1 to Oct 31. There was a segment on major channel news for at least 5 minutes. The witnesses were featured and neighbors were interviewed as to their perception of having the witnesses along the road. They responded positively and stated that this can help to make this problem more visible. We carried 2 of the witnesses in a march  against abuse and they were in a local paper. The community college had a feature story showing the witnesses and added numbers of the local shelter and the colleges women's center. Our Oct 10 church sermon was dedicated to domestic violence awareness. A song was produced to honor the witnesses from our community. One of the new attendees that Sunday stated that 15 years ago our local shelter had saved her life and she wanted to attend our program that Sunday. One of the witness's sisters stopped by the church to share her appreciation for our honoring her sister's death. They came down silently, were gently and reverently zipped back up into their body bags (purchased from the morgue) to rest. They quietly wait till next  year when they will be roused again to stand in silence in the cold just to remind us of where unchecked power and control can lead.
*What a powerful tribute to the women who were murdered. Thanks for such a fine effort.

OKLAHOMA:
Marcia Smith reports that their Coalition Silent Witness exhibit (consisting of 85 figures) has been parcelled out to each shelter in the state. So each jurisdiction used them in conjunction with their own October events. In March they will all rally at the state capitol and circle the capitol rotunda. What a dramatic sight that will be. Marcia says this is a very powerful statement and they are very pleased to have this exhibit.
*Thanks Marcia. The idea of each shelter having their own Witnesses is a powerful one. It brings the issue close to home, to both the community and the women housed in the shelters.

RHODE ISLAND:
As Nancy Rafi reports,the activity never stops in RHode Island. We now have 2 Silent Witness projects in Rhode Island. One is still the Silent Witness Collaborative of Rhode Island, which is homebased out of Providence. But I am now working with another small group based out of Newport and we are known simply as the Silent Witnesses of Rhode Island. Each exhibit has silhouettes and we do speaks at college and university campuses. The focus of the Newport group is a little different though, in that we are going to be concentrating on putting together a workshop on new successful treatment models for perpetrators. We hope to get funding to have a conference sometime in the end of the Spring, and bring together several different social service groups, as well as concerned citizens.Then we'll see who is willing to spearhead the effort to get the program implemented in Rhode Island. I'm very excited about this next phase for us - moving forward to making changes - that's what it's all about! Also, on November 20th, we have 5 fraternities at the University of Rhode Island who will be making Silent Witnesses for the Social Work department at the school, so RI will have ANOTHER SW exhibit - this is the second college in 1 month! Each Greek house will donate 5 bodies, and $50, alongwith donating all the materials needed, so we're anticipating having about 20 Witnesses made.   We're really excited about FRATERNITIES being involved- sending the message that men need to be involved with this issue also. Onward we go.....The company that I work for (Tuition Management Systems) sponsored a project for Make A Difference Day (national day of vounteering on October 23rd - started by the Points of Light Foundation) last Saturday. 25 people from my company, and students from Salve Regina University came to our headquarters in Newport, and we constructed 20 Silent Witnesses! We got great press coverage and had a great time too! My company has been incredibly supportive of my work with SW and this was just one more way of showing it. In that same vein, the Newport group did a presentation at Salve Regina last night, and as part of it we donated 5 Silent Witnesses to the social work department (which they had literally made with their own hands), and they now have their own Silent Witness project. Liz Minifie, the head of the counseling department, will contacting you soon to talk about where they want to go from here, and to get more information about national's goals. She's a remarkable woman, and filled with energy - just what Silent Witness needs! On another front, Melanie Martin (who is part of the Newport group) has been speaking to a young man who is part of a fraternity on the campus of the University of Rhode Island. They are interested in constructing some Witnesses and then donating them to THEIR social work department, and having their own Silent Witness project there. Isn't it great how this all happens? We're hoping to have a Silent Witness exhibit on EVERY COLLEGE CAMPUS IN RHODE ISLAND! And forward we go.......In November, some of the Witnesses will be going to Block Island (a small island off the coast of RI) to be presented to the entire community at their local school (they only have 1 on the whole island). The Women's Resource Center of South County will have speakers doing a presentation, and they'll talk about domestic violence education and outreach. This is a first for Block Island (talk about isolation!) so we're very excited about the opportunity to be seen there! We're also going to be working on a remembrance vigil for a 17 year-old murdered in 1995 (anniversary in November), so the work continues!
*I get breathless just reading this. This is phenomenal. Onward, indeed!!

SOUTH DAKOTA:
Krista Heeren-Graber, the director of the SD Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault writes: South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault has a membership of twenty domestic violence and sexual assault agencies in the state. I will forward information about what we are doing in South Dakota and other relevant information. Since my group is relatively new, I am noticing that we are not on others' mailing lists, lists of State Coalitions,etc. Please send out our information so others will add us to their lists of resources. Our group really  wants to start networking with other groups throughout the nation. We need support and ideas to deal with domestic violence in SD. The e-mail address is sdnafvsa@gwtc.net, phone is 605-731-0041, and the address is PO Box 90453 Sioux Falls, SD 57109. Thank you!
*Welcome to the Silent Witness network, Karen. Together we will heal this country.

WYOMING:
Irene Martinez, chair of the committee that put on the October events in Riverton,WY, which I (Janet) attended sent us the list of the people who worked so hard on that tremendous event. she writes: This was the first year for our county service providers to host the Silent Witness services for the state. We were very pleased with our turn out, the total count for the Run/Walk was 474, plus 22 committee members. Committee Members:Sharon Bryant - Family member, Erin Anderson - survivor Irene Martinez, Kristy Boshard, Amanda Wood, from - V/W Fremont County Attorney's Office. Mary Cowboy, Aureila Johnson, Lucy Warren, Violet Hurtado, Nan Craft, Catherine Trumbull, Hollie Waterson: - Turtle Shelter, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Shelter) Carol Westlake, Marilyn Anderson, Cindy Gustin:- Riverton Police Department V/W program, and Bill Thompson, Bart Ringer - Riverton Police Department. Rose Stanbury, Toni Reichenbach, - MADD Program. Karen Doughty - Family Violence Program. Donita Sayers, Arenella Oldman, Mike Warren - RAM Club Irene Martinez, Victim/Witness Coordinator, Director of Fremont Coutny   Victim/Witness Program.
*Thanks to all of you. It was a tremendous event and I was deeply moved. Thanks for inviting me.

 

NEWS FROM NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS: 

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S CONFERENCE USES SILENT WITNESS
Amy Tuttle writes us about an exciting conference appearance for Silent Witness: I am in charge of booking the Silent Witness Exhibit for the Presbyterian Women's Churchwide triennial Gathering on July 15-19, 2000 in Louisville,  Kentucky. During the last Gathering in 1997, the Silent Witness Exhibit impacted the lives of 3,000 women. Next year, we are expecting 5,000 - 6,000  women at our event.
*This is so exciting, to see church women involved with Silent Witness. The Witnesses continue to speak out to larger and larger groups. YES!

ANNE O'DELL SPEAKS OUT FOR SILENT WITNESS:
Anne O'Dell, is one of our mentors on the Coordinated Community Response Results Project, the one that deals with the criminal justice system. She is a former police officer from San Diego. In her presentation on policing and community involvement all over the country, she has included slides of Silent Witness figures and gives a strong endorsement for Silent Witness activities.
*We are grateful to Anne for this wonderful coverage. Thanks a lot Anne.

 

I leave you today with an image that touches me personally. Patricia Pearce writes this little story in the latest issue of "The Other Side" magazine.

"This summer, I went through a time where I would wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 and not be able to get back to sleep. One night I decided to fix myself a cup of warm milk and sit on our back patio. My plan was to experience the silence of night and savor its peaceful darkess."

"When I stepped out the back door, I was amazed to hear the darkness filled with the singing of dozens, maybe hundreds of birds. I could see no evidence of dawn--the sky appeared totally dark to me--but the birds somehow knew dawn was on its way, and they were greeting it with song."

HOPE IS THE BIRD THAT SINGS TO THE DAWN WHILE IT IS STILL DARK.

Be hope to our country and to this world.

Cheers,

Janet

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