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November 26  Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a Very Happy Thanksgiving. It is a time to be grateful. I, for one, am grateful for all of you. You are the most unprecendented group of go-getters that I have ever had the privilege to work with. And if we marshall our energy for the next five years on these fabulous Results Projects that we'll outline in the next few newsletters, we WILL ELIMINATE DOMESTIC MURDERS. You are angels. I mean it. BUT THE NEXT FIVE YEARS ARE CRUCIAL. GEAR UP.

The Results book is going to the printer today. We had a very large response from all of you requesting the book and I am so pleased. We are getting endorsement cover letters from three national organizations, Senator Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone and Gay Woodhouse, Wyoming's Attorney General. This is very exciting.



Sally Sperber (Jr. League, London, England), Barbara Cappa (Jr. League, East Bay and Oakland, CA), Eva Hassel Calais (ROKS, National Swedish DV Organization and Uppsasa Shelter, Uppsala, Sweden), Kristen Jennings (Jr League National Office, NYC), Rebecca Zwart (Asanti Health System, Grant's Pass, OR), Lisa Hackman (JR. League of Bergen County, NJ-new email address)



This note is from Jerry at the Family Advocacy Program, USAF, Little Rock AFB , Arkansas, Our office borrowed the Silent Witness figures from the state coalition offfice until we can procure our own. The exhibit was a resounding success. It was estimated that over 220,000 people visited the Air Show and our booth was continueously full and busy. The figures were very emotional to all that attended and reviewed the display. I sent by E-mail, pictures of the display to our local state office.
*Thanks, Jerry, for a tremendous effort. It is good that so many people got to see and be touched by the SW Figures.

Tasha Amador, from the California Statewide Coalition, writes this update: Just a quick update on the "16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women" Worldwide Event: (November 25, 1999 through December 11, 1999). I have confirmed 10 cities throughout the state of California that will be displaying the "Silent Witness Project" as part of this event. The cities are: Salinas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Southgate, La Puente, and Santa Maria. Thank you so much for all of your help in finding contacts at the Junior League chapters in California !! I'll send you the press clippings for the newsletter ! What a wonderful opportunity this will be to educate the public on domestic violence -- we couldn't have done it without you -- thank you!
*And thank you, Tasha. What a grand coordination effort. Go for it.

Also from California this note from LInda Compo-Blazich, Visalia, CA: We got sheets of wood (Particle board, I think) and we got a pattern and made our own Silent Witness cut outs. We took it a step further and made children cut outs, too. We have been really working hard on this project. It was successful for our Domestic Violence candlelight vigil and Awareness Walk.
*Great work, LInda and Company. Another new exhibit for California. We love you.

And from the Jr. League of Los Angeles (Bonnie Wong): I have been meaning to email you with a summary of our latest "Refuse to Abuse" Student Assembly. It was held on Friday, October 22, 1999 (During Domestic Violence Awareness month --- of course) at Banning High School in Wilmington, California. We had approximately 600 students in attendance. Banning's student population is over 3200 in grades 9-12. The ethnic population is diverse with over 50% of the students speaking a language other than English in the home. Banning was very supportive of this program. Their Assistant Principal, Dan Schar was very helpful in coordinating the assembly. They were equipped with audio-visual and stage students, plus leadership and ROTC students that helped with parking and directing people/speakers/students to the Auditorium. As with our Spring Student Assembly, I believe that the program presented domestic violence information to these students. We had students come up and ask the speakers questions after the assembly. I feel that shows us that we made a difference!

Also, the witnesses have been on display at the following events/locations: JLLA Rummage Sale- Santa Monica Civic Auditorium JLLA November General Meeting - Santa Monica Fairmont During and after the "Refuse to Abuse" Student Assembly - Banning High School - Wilmington Women's Seminar - All Saints Episcopal Church - Pasadena - In conjunction with State-wide California Coalition for Battered Women (SCCBW) Silent Witness Project --- "16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women" South Gate - City Hall and Police Department La Puente - City Hall, Senior Center, and Community Center Los Angeles - City Hall Haven House - 5K Run/Walk - "Racing for a safer World for Women (Sponsored by Lady Foot Locker) With the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office, we co-sponsored their Domestic Violence Investigation and Prosecution Awards Ceremony at California Hospital Medical Center - Los Angeles
*Wow, this leaves me breathless. What a bunch of go getters you are out there in LA. And these high school assemblys are great awareness builders. They can change people's lives.

And from the Jr. League of Oakland, East Bay, Barbara Cappa writes: I have recently taken over the reins of the Silent Witness program in Oakland/East Bay. I have been culling through the newlsetters for ideas as to how to proceed. Our program ceased for a time and now we are trying to reestablish it. We repainted our ladies, attached updated histories to them and were able to have them at a BWA luncheon of 500 in October. We are currently trying to find other avenues for them.
*Welcome back, Oakland/East Bay. We're so pleased you've reenergized your efforts. Keep us updated for your next events and watch the newlsetter for new ideas on results projects.

This note from our dear friend, Joy Basdeo, who brought about ten women with her from the Cayman Islands to the march in Washington and then brought several new programs back to the Islands. I am pleased to hear how well Silent Witness is doing. Your friends in the Cayman Islands send you greeetings and congratulations on the new book. We will begin our fourth island-wide campaign for 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence on 25th November. We now have four Silent Witnesses and we use them for all our anti-domestic violence axctivities.
*Keep going strong. We love to have allies everywhere in the world.

The JR League of London, represented by Sally Sperber,is very interested in pursuing a Silent Witness exhibit. We'll keep you posted on their progress. What excitement is brewing in the world for Silent Witness!!

Stephanie LIghter updates us on the miracles going on in south Florida: So much going on here at NCJW Boca-Delray Section. We have produced two different stickers. One for all the schools in Palm Beach County "Zero Tolerance," the other to be placed in women's rest rooms with the national hot line number. Also we have printed 5,000 copies of a domestic resource manual which will be distributed to 36 law enforcement offices and 87 agencies is the county. We will be making a formal presentation to the State Attorney, Mr. Barry Kricher next Monday with the local media in attendance. Another SW exhibit event is planned for a shopping mall for Feb 14, 2000 (don't you just LOVE the date! We will be working with the Domestic Violence Council of Palm Beach Council which was formed by Mr. Kirscher. Court watch is growing all the time and we now have 30 very active volunteers in 3 courts. We are already in the planning stage for next Oct DV vigil with a lot of new ideas to create public interest.
*Lots of activity and new interest all the time in Florida. Keep up the good work. We love seeing all that progress. It's so inspiring.

Nanci Kreidman wrote us that they did have an October event with the Silent Witnesses after all in Hawaii. This is tremendous news.That means 45 states used their Silent Witnesses in some way during Ocotber.
*Thanks, Nanci and Company for getting up to speed so quickly with your brand new Witness.

Sherriann Hamilton from Louisville, KY wrote us about how many lives may have been touched by Silent Witnesses there during October: And I know this is a little late, but I did want to let you know of a few SW activities that we organized here in Louisville. KY. I had received a call from Anthem BC/BS asking the Center for Women and Families to have a display table at their Health Fair. Knowing that it was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they asked me if I knew of any other ways they could highlight that as a part of the Health Fair. I put them in contact with the Junior League to get the SW silhouettes, which they divided among their 3 buildings during the week prior to the Health Fair. It had an especially strong impact when a member of management realized that one of the ladies used to babysit for his children. About 300 people participated in the Health Fair, but close to 1000 saw the silhouettes in the 3 buildings!  As soon as the Health Fair at Anthem was over, I packed the ladies up and took them to the "Ending Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: A Kentucky Blueprint for Peace" conference I was attending. The conference was sponsored by the Governor's Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services, the KY Domestic Violence Association, and the KY Association of Sexual Assault Programs. There were several hundred people in attendance from all over KY and from surrounding states as well. The ladies made a big impact and hopefully the attendees will take the idea back to their home areas and create displays of their own. The very next week was the Take Back the Night March and Rally, which one of my co-workers here at the Center for Women and Families was organizing. We set the ladies up at every entrance to the park where we held the Rally so that no one would miss them. The collective strength of all those in attendance, in  combination with the unseasonably warm weather we had, made for a wonderful evening indeed!
*Sherriann that was worth waiting for. What a wonderful series of events. Thanks for taking the time to update us and thanks for the grand effort. We all appreciate it.

And this nice note from Leslie Frost, one of our fine coordinators in New Jersey: I'm happy to report that our Silent Witnesses are in more demand than ever. I have had to split them into 4 groups to accomodate all the requests. Two groups are out unitl next year being exhibited at multiple sites by other women's organizations and two have returned to rest until December when they go to local colleges! It has been so busy that we have not been able to get them used locally again... will have to work on that for 2000! Silent Witness is getting well known and will be included in a local cable show for NOW that I am taking part in at the end of the month. We, at NCJW West Morris are proud to be a part of such a dymanic and active national organization. Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving.....
*And we at National are thrilled to have such wonderful angels out there in New Jersey. Thanks for all this great effort.

This note from Patrick O'Donnell, our newest Silent Witness coordinator, who has taken over the reins of the Dayton Silent Witness exhibit: This week (all week long) the Silent Witness's are at Beavercreek High School, a verylarge, suburban school near Dayton. This morning, I went to the school to give an orientation about Silent Witness to a group of students. One of the students who was tending the Silent Witness information table told me the following story: She said a boy took a quick glance at the Silent Witnesses, then came over to the information table and wrote in the comment notebook, "This is pathetic and pointless." The girl saw what he had written and said to him, "Wait a minute. You didn't even read what this is about. Take a minute and check it out." The boy then went around reading each of the plaques. He came back over to the information table, scratched out what he had written, said, "I'm sorry," to the girl and walked away. Slowly but surely, changes are being made.

The Silent Witnesses also appeared at the State Farm Offices near Columbus and we know that many people at State Farm were moved by the exhibit. The 23 Witnesses lined the hallway leading to the cafeteria. There are about 1,500 employees there, so plenty of people saw the exhibit. There were many powerful comments written in the "guest book." Here is a sampling:
- Thank you for making everyone aware of this sad situation. When people experience this with friends they know, they want the whole world to wake up to this terrible scourge.
- Thank you Global Village Communications for making such a powerful display available to the community. Our employees stood in silence and read the incredible stories. Every person who saw the display was impacted. Some couldn't read them all, it was simply too emotional.
- Frightening
- How can we stop this?
- Probably the most hauntingly realistic display I have ever seen.

In addition to hosting Silent Witness, State Farm employees also volunteered at a Columbus shelter -- painting, remodeling, collecting supplies, etc. While these initiatives happened during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I'm hopeful that some of the folks were moved to continue their support on an on-going basis.
*This is such wonderful news, to hear that more corporations are getting involved with Silent Witness all the time. Wouldn't it be great if all the corporations hosted Silent Witness exhibits and several decided to become the first ones to declare themselves to be violence free workplaces? YES!

We have a new Silent Witness exhibit in Oregon now, in Grant's Pass. It will be sponsored by the Domestic Violence Task Force, the Women's Crisis Support Team and the Asanti Health System.It was their hope to have a Silent Witness Exhibit in their county be this October, DV Awareness Month. Contact person is Rebecca Zwart, Three Rivers Community Hospital,Domestic Violence Advocate .
*Go Oregon. Another state with multiple exhibits. That makes 26 states with multiple exhibits.

Melanie Martin writes us from RI about her work with the sororities and fraternities at the University of Rhode Island: Things went great at URI!! There were about 125 students. The day started with someone from the The Women's Resource Center of South County talking about the services that they provide and some domestic violence statistics. Then, I talked about how Silent Witness came to be and then 4 girls read the stories of our witnesses. I then spoke as a survivor of domestic violence and told everyone my story. Finally, 2 of the fraternity members gave a brief self defense course. In total, all 8 sororities and 4 of the 8 fraternities were represented! We then went and made 10 witnesses. Some will be donated to the University for awareness and some will be donated to The Women's Resource Center. The energy was great and people were really into the whole day. When the witnesses are complete, each house will have a representative stand with their witness out in the center of campus. Next semester, they will also have a program so they can officially donate them to the school. They wanted to spread out the awareness. Many thanks are in order for the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) and their president Joe Sanicola for taking an interest in this project!! Also, thanks to all of the houses that were able to attend!! I love this work and am so glad to be a part of a wonderful project!!
* And we are so thrilled that this work is spreading to so many college campuses and that the men are so willing and interested in participating. Great work Melanie.

Margaret, the mother of a Silent Witness in Texas sends us this powerful note: Good Morning! I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that I interviewed with a local newspaper and told my story of Tammy's death at the hands of the man she was divorcing. They printed Tammy's story along with a photo of me holding Tammy's photo for October Domestic Violence Month here in  our county in Texas. I know this is not a lot, but was a little contribution on my part to help get the word out there to all those victims who suffer at the hands of their abusers.
*This is not a little, it is a lot, Margaret. Thanks for keeping Tammy's story alive. It compels all of us to work harder to get those murder rates down.

And this brief note from our wonderful Aly Morgan, a professional singer who is bringing the word of Silent Witness to audiences all over America. I am staying on the road a lot lately touring with Redemption and speeking out against domestic violence. I will send you a long e-mail after  Christmas. I did a press conference the end of October with The family place here in Dallas.It turned out great. Redemption performed and the press conference was a great success.
*And you are a great success, Aly, just for doing this fine work. The best to you.



Kimbra Martin, author of a new book writes us: I am the author of Snapshots, A Rare Look at Childhood Trauma and Abuse, (1999, Authorlink Press, ISBN 1928704018), a book that narrates my own survival story and which has received critical recognition in several US medical and  psychological organizations. I believe this is a positive resource for victims of abuse, and would very much appreciate your visiting my web site http://homepages.go.com/~kimbramartin/ , or the Amazon.com listing for Snapshots for an excerpt from the book, as well as author information. I have found in my public discussions of Snapshots, and in radio and television interviews, that the book has made it possible for silent survivors to speak up. I believe it is because I was quite honest in my writing and did not sugar-coat the truths of abuse and recovery.

My name is Victoria Frye and I am the Coordinator of Domestic Violence Research and Surveillance for the Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention of the New York City Department of Health. I work with Dr.Susan Wilt, who is the Director of the Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and has been researching female homicide for many years. As a local government agency, we at the Department of Health conduct various research and  surveillance activities to detect trends in domestic and non-domestic violence. Using available data, we are able to classify female homicides according to intimate partner perpetrator status, analyze trends in lethal assaults against women by their intimate partners and identify at risk populations and areas.  For example, we recently found a significant over-representation of foreign-born women among intimate partner female homicide victims and are reaching out to the advocates and professionals working with foreign-born women and families. The information we gather is provided to the public via web-site and print media and to community-based organizations (CBOs). This is an excellent example of the devotion of public funds to one aspect of the issue of violence against women. These activities may be replicated in many parts of the world. While our system is far from perfect it has many excellent qualities and we would love to exchange information with other countries and municipalities in the US and abroad engaged in similar activities. Victoria Frye, MPH, Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention 2 Lafayette Street, 20th Floor New York, NY 10007 (212)-676-2157 - voice (212)-676-2161 - fax  

Senator Paul Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone appear regularly with the Silent Witness exhibit but I (Janet) had an opportunity to appear with them recently in a day-long program focusing on using the arts to take on serious issues in our society. It was so exciting to see their ongoing enthusiasm for the arts and for The Silent Witness efforts all over the country. They are truly wonderful partners of ours.


I leave you today with a brief but pithy proverb that I hope will inspire you to new heights.

"When the spiders unite, they can tie down a lion."
Ethiopian Proverb

Spiders of the world UNITE.


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