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November 23, 2001

 

Dear Friends,
I am hoping Thanksgiving was wonderful for those of you receiving this newsletter who celebrate it. I think it is great to pause regularly and remember what you are grateful for, especially now with so much going on in the world that is unsettling. And, of course, I'm thankful for you all once again.

We have been getting calls from all over the country as a result of the article in Ladies Home Journal--December edition (with Harry Potter on the cover). Most who call are survivors who want to help us move forward with the initiative. What a service this article was for us and the the Silent Witnesses.

And please note the article on Intimate Partner Violence printed by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. The domestic violence homicide rate for women in the US has fallen 30%. Friends we are almost a third of the way to our goal of zero domestic homicides by 2010. And the rates did not start dropping significantly until 1994. So we are on a roll. Keep up the programs, the events with the Silent Witnesses and the positive attitude. Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do in the future. Together we can heal the world.

Here's a powerful little note about our web site: In September 2001 we had 83,500 hits on our web site. This could be explained by the fact that October was coming and it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But in November, 2001, after all the events were over we had 25,700 hits on our web site in just one WEEK. One year ago, we had 40,000 hits a month. This means we have become a very credible site. That is great. We have now posted all the 1999 DV homicide statistics by state so if you are interested in how your state is doing visit the site at www.silentwitness.net and click on the red figure at the top right hand side of the home page.



WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Martha Bellizzi (interested in SW in North Carolina), Desiree Robertson (interested in SW in Memphis), Monika Forsman (Marin Abused Women's Services, San Rafael, CA), Karen Shephard (Shelton Counseling Advocacy Network, Shelton, Washington), Kim Newsom (survivor,activist, Jacksonville, FL), Jeanette Ruby (Access Medical Group, Project Management Associate), June Code (New Horizon Advocacy Network, Patterson, NJ).


Would you consider an end-of-year gift to Silent Witness:
Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to Silent Witness this year. We are moving forward in many exciting ways. 30 states now have multiple Silent Witness exhibits, more than 2000 figures. Our Results projects are growing by the day. We are seeing more unmistakable results all the time. We develop leaders and we mentor healers. We are highly collaborative. And we are all grassroots. All this with a minimum budget (under $30,000) for several years. Every gift makes a difference, especially in this very tight economy. Thanks for considering us. Send a check to Silent Witness 20 Second St. N.E. Suite 1101 Mpls, MN 55413. 


NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:

England:
We heard from Toni Van Rooyen in England with this exciting news:

I attended a conference in London today chaired by Cherie Booth, our Prime Ministers wife, the equivalent to your first lady. It was about domestic violence and its affect on child contact and protection and guess what was up on the stage behind some very well known and excellent speakers..... the silent witness silhouettes. I was so proud to see them. Take care

*Thanks Toni for that Silent Witness sighting, and with such distinguished company. I am impressed and elated that the Witnesses are appearing in more public places around the world. 


Illinois:
Doug Poag in Bloomington, IL had these good ideas. Some of you might want to try them:

I also want to check with you about the possibility of using the silent witness woman and child in a 14 to 18 inch size, made of wood with a small stand, as an plaque-type item for businesses, individuals, churches in our community who have made a contribution to the effort to counter family violence and promote peaceful homes. 

One final thing, I have talked just a bit with our local shelter about working to get a hardwood, pretty refined version of a silent witness
silhouette for permanent display in our county's Law and Justice Center. It would include the names of all women and children who have
died in the last 20 years or so as a result of DV.

*Thanks, Doug, for these two good ideas. We seem to be mushrooming with good ideas this year. Keep those creative thoughts coming.


Massachusetts:
We got this wonderful Silent Witness Update from Nancy Carolyn Kwant who works at Peace at Home:


Greetings from Massachusetts. We had an extremely successful Domestic Violence Awareness Month courtesy of the Silent Witness Exhibit. We achieved the goal of having the witnesses someplace everyday for the month of October. One of our big kudos was having them in three of The Body Shop stores in downtown Boston. One of the figures even made it into the display window of the store in The Prudential Center. It was so incredible to see them displayed in such a heavily trafficked public place. All of the The Body Shop staff commented what a positive response they received and a lot of people asked questions and took our handbook, Domestic Violence: The Facts. They also took donations for us from our bumper stickers and pins, which will go to help support the exhibit in its travels. Thanks again for the suggestion on that connection. Hopefully next year we can get them into the corporate owned stores as well.

The witnesses traveled to Simmons College for a lecture on prostitution and domestic violence. They were featured at two churches: The Sisters of St. Ann in Marlboro and at the United Methodist Church in Quincy. The United Methodist Church featured them at their Sunday service as well as at a domestic violence vigil. The Spanish American Center in Leominster had them at court, in a community center, and in the Searstown Mall. I had the opportunity to speak about the exhibit and its history in both English and Spanish, which was a real treat for me. The Boston Public Library displayed the exhibit at the main entrance, so it was one of the first things you would see upon entering the library. Women¹s Protective Services of Sudbury also had them at a variety of places including churches and domestic violence vigils. They also put out a request for blanket donations and seamstresses as we continue to try and make padded bags for each of the figures. The Verizon Corporate offices in downtown Boston hosted the exhibit for a week. The Jamaica Plain Domestic Violence Providers Network marched the witnesses through the streets during a candlelight vigil they had to raise awareness. It was an amazing visual to see the figures held up high as we all marched down the street chanting, ³End the Violence, End the Silence!² We had them out and about again at The Boston Common for a day. It was interesting and great to see a larger number of men stopping to read each of the figures¹ breastplates and ask questions. Several people became very emotional. The Boston College Law Project hosted the exhibit, as did Health Services at UMASS Boston in Dorchester. Again it was another eye-catching visual to see figures from 2000 and 2001 lined up all the way down the glass catwalk going from the administration building to the library. They were also featured in two different health centers in Dorchester. The Melrose Alliance Against Violence displayed them in a very moving candlelight vigil and their director stated this was something she would incorporate into their event every year from now on. 

The Plymouth County DA¹s office took the exhibit to be displayed in their office as well as at Bridgewater State College. The interesting story there is that we were requested to make a special breastplate for a woman who had been killed over fifteen years ago. One of the lawyers in the office had been working on the case for the past five years and the perpetrator was finally convicted. Together, the family and the lawyers composed the story for her breastplate, which we made a copy of to be given to the family. They were both touched and grateful for such a memoriam. Another family adorned a different witness with flowers in her remembrance. These are stories, which reassure me of how important and vital this exhibit is and how we must continue to work to reach as many different venues as possible.

I also want to mention how wonderful it was to meet up with Nancy Raffi of Rhode Island SW and Susan Fuller of Maine SW at the New England Domestic Violence Conference in Providence. Each of us brought our witnesses to the conference and displayed them throughout the two days-very powerful indeed. We were also able to exchange a lot of different ideas and suggestions, which were extremely helpful to every one of us. We even spoke of possibly having a New England Silent Witness Day sometime in the future. How great would that be? Thanks again Nancy for the Cheesecake Factory experience!

Coming up in November the exhibit will be hosted by the Domestic Violence Crisis Outreach Committee at Harvard, Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, and at a fundraiser one of our volunteers is having for our agency. Domestic Violence Awareness month is over, but alas our work is not. I don¹t think my car will ever be the same from all this travel, but it sure is worth all the success stories. Wishing everyone peace at home! 

*Thanks Nancy for all the hard work on behalf of Silent Witness. We are indebted to your car as well. And the connections in the NE are great. You are all amazing women.


Minnesota:
In the last newsletter we cited a story about a young artist who makes pinata displays about violence against women. This information was included in a letter that Lois Herman sent to several Latin American and South American countries to encourage them in using art to raise awareness of domestic violence. 


Montana:
Tracy Lakatua sends us this recap of their October event in Missoula:

Our Missoula-area Silent Witnesses were built by the men of Phi Delta Theta, a fraternity at the University of Montana, and they saw their debut during Domestic Violence Awareness Month --- this included the debut of the Silent Witness figure honoring Josie Salois. On October 26 as part of the "Take Back the Night" rally, seven witnesses lined the steps of the Missoula County Courthouse as speakers (including a writer, a poet, a pastor and myself) addressed the group. Following a march through downtown Missoula, people gathered again at the courthouse lawn for the "Speak-Out," where women could tell their own stories of domestic violence or sexual assault. At the very end, I entered the circle to tell this story of a woman who could no longer speak for herself: "My name is JOSIE SALOIS --- I died October 28, 1998 --- I was 22 years old --- I lived in Missoula and I was a student at University of Montana's College of Technology. I died of a brain hemorrhage following a physically violent argument with my boyfriend. Witnesses heard a thump against the wall during our fight. Charges against my boyfriend were dropped for lack of evidence."

Following the Speak Out, a woman approached me and asked if I had known one of the other Silent Witnesses --- Tambi Weinberger, a 17-year-old who was brutally beaten by her boyfriend, who then waited 11 hours before calling an ambulance. This woman told me that after Tambi died she had been called in by the mortician to help prepare her hair for the body's presentation in the casket. She reported that nowhere on Tambi's very petite body was there more than a two-inch area that wasn't black-and-blue. She saw the giant imprint of a boot on the face, and reported that the mortician had to do major reconstruction on the cheekbone. While it was certainly chilling to hear her story, I think it underlines the importance and the power that lie in its telling, and in the simple narration of each and every Silent 
Witness' story.

*Tracy, these are compelling stories and show once again why the Silent Witnesses are so powerful. And it is so good to hear that that you are getting the young men involved there as well. Thanks for all this work.


Ohio:
Patrick O'Donnell who I asked you all to write to has received LOTS of responses. Thank you for your kindness to one of our best. He writes: 
I've responded to about 70 folks from the Silent Witness network who sent me messages of encouragement. Thank you for putting the word out. I also received a beautiful letter from Connie Fox.


NEWS FROM WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS:

Thank you note from Rose Mary Boerboom for the John Peterson Award:
Dear Janet, 
I want to thank you for the honor of being given the John Peterson Award by Silent Witness for my work to end domestic violence. I 
heard John speak at the march in Washington in 1997 and was impressed by his sincerity and his commitment to becoming the best man he could be. His presence there with Diane was a powerful sign of the progress he made and of the real possibility of change and healing for men and all of us. Since much of my work in the past ten years has been with men like John, who have also made changes to become the good men they were meant to be, I feel a strong connection to John and Diane. Their journey through pain to hope and healing is an example of what I think we are all working for. Again, thank you for your support. I am grateful and humbled to be acknowledged by Silent Witness 
in this way. Rose Mary


Dorothy Lemmey requests our assistance:
Dorothy Lemmey and Ken Schmidt of Maryland have volunteered to add a feature to Silent Witness National Initiative web page. That project would include national and international web pages with pictures that feature production, set up, display and media coverage of their exhibit. Please email a web page address with a short description of your project to dotlemmey@aol.com. This would add richness to this effort, share visual ideas, feature individual work, add interest and validate the old cliché of "a picture is worth a thousand words."


Campbell Stamps Out Domestic Violence: A postage stamp to assist domestic violence programs 
WASHINGTON ­An amendment to the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2002, will create a direct avenue for the public to contribute financially to the over 2,000 domestic violence shelters in the United States. 

U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell recently offered an amendment to the Treasury Postal Service & General Government Appropriations Bill, H.R. 2590, called the "Stamp Out Domestic Violence Act of 2001." It will facilitate a semi-postal stamp to raise awareness about domestic violence. This domestic violence stamp, similar to the breast cancer stamp, will cost slightly more than the value of the stamp. Funds raised from the added cost of the stamp will go to fund services for domestic violence victims through programming managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The amendment was added during conferencing of the bill. The Senate voted 83-15 in favor of the final conference report, and the House voted 339-85. (See House Committee Report 107-253 for details on the bill.) The bill is now headed to President Bush's desk for his signature shortly. 


An update on DV statistics from the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence:
As we strive to be your source for the most up to date information on issues related to intimate partner violence, we thought you would be interested in this recently released information from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics:

INTIMATE-PARTNER MURDERS FALL BY HALF 

Your chances of being killed by a spouse, a significant other, or an ³ex² dropped by nearly half over the last 20 years, according to a new government report. 

Intimate-partner homicides dropped by about 68 percent for men and 30 percent for women, report says. Nearly all were killed by the opposite sex: their male partner killed 99.5 percent of the women; almost 93.7 percent of men were killed by their female partner. 

Although the plummeting intimate-partner homicide rate reflects new social programs and new legal measures to curb domestic violence, women are still at risk, the analysis shows. During the survey period, almost 64 percent of the victims were women. 

Homicide remains among the top six leading causes of death for Americans under the age of 44, accounting for about 18,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

About one in three murders of women were committed by a current or former spouse or boyfriend. About half of all the intimate-partner homicide victims were killed by their legal spouses, and 33 percent were killed by their boyfriends or girlfriends. Guns tended to be the weapon of choice. 

The findings appeared in the October 11, 2001 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a CDC publication. 


Intimate Partner Violence

Women age 16 to 24 are most vulnerable to intimate partner violence, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Justice¹s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99 provides statistical information on the prevalence of domestic violence and the characteristics of victims of abuse. The report examines victims¹ age and gender, finding that women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence than men, and women in their late teens and early twenties are more likely to experience abuse than women of other ages. 

Intimate partner violence is widespread, and women are the victims of abuse more often than men are. In 1999, 671,110 women were the victims of domestic violence, according to Intimate Partner Violence. Eight-five percent of all victims of intimate partner violence were women, while 15 percent (120,100) were men. Intimate partner violence against women most often took the form of simple assault (66 percent), rape or sexual assault (14 percent), or aggravated assault (10 percent). 

Intimate Partner Violence notes that between 1993 and 1999, there was a nationwide decrease in crime. The rate of intimate violence against women also declined, but to a lesser extent, during the period.


From 1993 to 1999, intimate partner violence against women decreased by 41 percent, from 1.1 million women in 1993 to 671,110 in 1999. 


Intimate Partner Violence and Age 

The rates of intimate partner violence ³differ greatly² depending on the age of the victim, according to the report. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are nearly three times more vulnerable to intimate partner violence (excluding intimate partner homicide) than women in other age groups. In 1999, the overall rate of intimate partner violence against women was 5.8 victimizations per 1,000 women, but the rate was 15.6 per 1,000 women for those aged 16 to 24. 

The higher rate of intimate partner violence exists regardless of young women¹s marital status, notes Intimate Partner Violence. Women between the ages of 20 and 24 were victimized at a higher rate than older women, regardless of marital status. In general, the report adds, women who are separated experienced intimate partner violence at rates ³significantly higher² than women in any other marital category. Separated women age 20 to 34 had the highest average rates of intimate partner violence of women in any age group. 

The pattern of younger women being most vulnerable to victimization was consistent across racial lines as well, Intimate Partner Violence finds. The rate of intimate partner violence peaked for both white and African American women between the ages of 20 and 24. The rate of intimate partner violence for Hispanic women peaked between the ages of 16 and 34. 

Intimate Partner Homicide 

Male murder victims were ³substantially less likely² than female victims to have been killed by an intimate partner, finds the report. Intimate partner homicide accounted for 32 percent of the murders of women in 1999 and approximately four percent of the murders of men. In 1999, 1,642 people were killed by intimates and three in four victims were women. Of the victims, 74 percent (1,218) were female and 26 percent (424) were male. 

While women in their teens and early twenties have the highest rate of intimate partner violence, women between the ages of 35 and 49 are ³the most vulnerable² to intimate partner homicide, according to the report. Between 1993 and 1999, intimate partner homicides made up 32 percent of the homicides of women between the ages of 20 and 24, compared with nearly 40 percent of the homicides of women between the ages of 35 and 49. In 1999, women in this age group were murdered by an intimate partner at rates greater than women in any other age group. 

But the report notes that woman between the ages of 20 and 34 also had high rates of intimate partner homicide. Young women (age 12 to 15) and women over age 50 experienced the lowest homicide rates among females. However, in every age category, women are more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner. 

Intimate Partner Violence is available on the Bureau of Justice Statistics¹ web site <http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs> . Copies of the report also can be ordered through the BJS clearinghouse number, 800/732-3277. 


California Conference on Domestic Violence:
Anne O'Dell sent us this early news about a great conference next March in San Diego

March 13-16, 2002 3 and 1/2 Days Second Annual International Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Conference 

Co-sponsors: 
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Statewide California Coalition of Battered Women California Coalition Against Sexual Assault The National Sexual Violence Resource Center California Alliance Against Domestic Violence Men Can Stop Rape, Washington, DC National Center for Women in Policing 
San Diego Center for Community Solutions San Diego County Domestic Violence Council 

Our conference hotel is the largest Holiday Inn in San Diego. It is on the water and in Downtown San Diego! 1355 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101 
Our special conference room rates are only $149.00 for single or double. There are 400 rooms reserved at this rate so don't delay! 

For more info: Phone: 858-679-2913, visit www.stopdv.com <http://www.stopdv.com/> or email Anne2215@aol.com 


I leave you today with a short but pithy quote from Erma Bombeck, as only she can express it:

"Know the difference between success and fame. Success is Mother Teresa. Fame is Madonna."

Friends, let's be successful!!


Cheers,

Janet
jhagberg@mn.rr.com 



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