As part of my pre-Holiday ritual I watched the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, this weekend. It is a story worth remembering. In the story the main character, George Bailey, is ready to commit suicide when his guardian angel, Clarence, shows him what the town he lives in and his family would be like if he had never been born. This revelation turned George's life around and brought him the meaning he lacked. While the movie is a little
"schmultzy" for 2001, the idea is amazing. Did you ever stop to think (especially on your low days) what the world or your family or your city or Silent Witness would be like if you hadn't be born? Might be interesting to pause for a few minutes and be grateful for what you have been able to do with this one wild and wonderful life.
WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Rachel Barnett (possible new SW exhibit, Salt Lake City, Utah), Chelye Schuetze (new SW exhibit, Rogue Valley Medical Center, Medford, Oregon), Sharon Ball (Vadnais Heights, MN), Jody, Faith, Amy Smith (Aiken County Help Line, CSRA Domestic Violence Task Force, SC and GA), Linda Ruleman (Memphis, TN), Jon Rhoad (Outreach Advocate, Women's Information Services, Lebanon, NH) Donna Brennan (Sexual Assault and Violence Education, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, possible new Silent Witness exhibit)
A Hearty Thank You:
Thank you to all of you out there who were part of Silent Witness activities this October. I would also like to especially thank people who took on leadership roles nationally. Thanks again to Marcia McKenzie, Nancy
Rafi, Melanie Martin, Monica Blaizgis, Jo Manson, Cindy Wolfson, and Debra Mize who organized regions. Kudos to the Silent Witness Board for their strong support, especially Susan
Mundale, our chair. Thanks to Tom Limonicelli who coordinates this list serve and to George and Susan Abbott who supplied the new statistical tables on our web site. Thanks to Susan and David at Voyageur It, our web masters for a great year. Thanks to Tibbie for updating my email lists and to Dorothy Lemmey for taking over the SW links. Kudos to Pat Francisco for coordinating the original SW exhibit all this time.
NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:
I saved this moving letter from a 12-year-old in Florida who saw the article in Ladies Home Journal. You see, we never know when something we do will really make a difference.
Dear Silent Witness,
I am a 12-year old girl who lives in Florida, and I read about you guys in the Ladies Home Journal magazine. I was deeply touched when I saw what you are doing to prevent domestic violence. I have never been personally exposed to domestic violence, nor has any of my family. I am very, very, VERY happy about that, and now that I know about Silent Witness, I am very grateful to you because it may be because of you that none of my family was abused. I know you hold events for your organization all around the USA; could you possibly come to Jacksonville, FL? I would come and see you. You have seen that my text is in red; I did this in honor of the plywood figures of women you make to show the silent witness's story. I hope you guys raise lots of money for Silent Witness in the future, and it can keep running forever. I hope you don't need to make anymore plywood figures in the very near future.
Best wishes and good luck,
Stephanie B., 12 years old, Florida, November 26th, 2001
*You go girl. Thanks for this letter, Stephanie. Keep writing those letters and stay clear of domestic violence.
And this Holiday hopeful note from our friend Candy Slaugter:
On Saturday Diane and I traveled to Tampa to visit the Mosque open house on Sligh Ave. We were very late so I was worried we would not be able to attend. As luck would have it, we arrived in time to have many wonderful conversations with the people who attend the Mosque. The best news came when they said that over 600 people had visited that day. I was very heartened by my visit there. My mother had never met a Muslim and she was intrigued to learn how the women lived their lives.
So this holiday season I am committed to giving away everything I can live without and making a difference for someone every single day. These are easy tasks and the outcome will enrich my life in ways I can not imagine today.
I ask that you make a commitment along with me to wage peace in even a small way. Our children will learn much from this commitment. And this year at Thanksgiving dinner when I tell my family and friends what I am thankful for, I will remember each of you in my thankfulness. Love and peace to you and your loved ones today and every day.
*Great thought to live by, Candy. Thanks for the reflections on peace and generosity.
This brief but inspiring note from Nancy Rafi of RI, the star of our Ladies Home Journal article:
Hope all is well with you. Melanie & I went to Roger Williams University last week and did a presentation on SW. They have committed to having their own SW project on campus, and are going to use the winter months to put together all the literature that they want to go with it, get support from faculty & students on campus, and will actually create their Witnesses (5) in April 2002, with a big kickoff event. We're trying to talk to them about getting support to bring a Results project on campus - we'll see where that goes. But I'm very excited about this group...it's about 15 people.
*Great news. We just keep marching forward in RI all the time. Pretty soon every county in the state and every college will have a Silent Witness presence. Yes.
Ellyne Nusalim, in Singapore, writes us this great note:
I am in Singapore and just get the chance to reply. I have been able to speak with a group who would like to participate with me in introducing the program which would be a benefit for this awareness and the self mastery program. I understand and admire the way your have conducted your program since I have read the introduction of your group and your books.
I had promised them, when I came back from Singapore I would start to organise the team worker and a few are carrying master degree in law, and I was surprised at their enthusiast support. Your idea of the figure of Silent Witness for the Women's day is also good and I would make the signboard as your suggested as soon as you give the details.
I need your further advice and thanks again, I am also excited to be in touch with you.
*This is so exciting, to be in connection with women all around the world. There is nothing we can't accomplish if we set our minds to it.
This powerful note from Aly Morgan from Texas who is a country western/religious singer who has adopted the Silent Witnesses:
It's been quite a while since I have written, but I wanted to let you know what is going on with my ministry. As you know I was given a house in Paducah Ky. to be the national headquarters for Women's Faith Force ministries. I have been speaking in churches and women's meetings all over the country. It seems like a long two years since I came here and started remodeling this house, but December, we will be having our open house for the public and all the clergyman in the surrounding area. We have a national prayer and counseling line, which is already established. The house will be open in the Year 2002, for counseling for women , Bible study, and prayer groups. We will also help women to find a safe house when needed until our facility is ready in 2004.
Our ministry is making churches aware that domestic violence is going on in their churches and it needs to be addressed. My Daughter and I will be traveling and performing concerts this next year. We still travel with our Texas silent witness women and feel very close to them. We have just written a song about the silent witness's and plan to have it recorded in January and use it with a video to send out for awareness. Three years ago I did not realize how fulfilled I could be by doing something like this. It has become a real passion of mine. This is the first time in my life I feel I have been able to help make a difference. I thank silence witness for allowing me to be a part of this project. I thank God that I can use what happened to me and help other women to get out of the violence and know there is help and a future. My daughter and I both spoke Sunday at one of the largest churches in Paducah. I told of the abuse in the home and how it affected me , not only as a women , but as a mother and she told them how it affected her as a child growing up. It was so powerful. Thank you Janet for allowing me to be a spokes person for silent witness. Well, I guess I must go but my prayer are with you and silent witness.
(Silent witness lyrics)
They stand in silence
They can't speak a word
But yet their voices need to be heard
Wooden silhouettes of what they use to be.
All their stories are cold realities.
They died for no reason
They died for no great cause
leaving behind loved ones
who grieve for them all.
They were killed by a husband, lover, or friend
Domestic violence strikes again. It knows no boundaries, no status quo
domestic violence effects us all.
Won't you please listen
reach out your hand
Open you heart
lets put domestic violence to an end.
(copyright 2001 words and music by Aly Morgan and Jennifer Holmes )
*This is so moving. We will soon get the CD with this song on it so if anyone wants to order one, we'll get the notice out soon.
Tammy Kennedy writes us from Vermont:
A Vermont Correspondent here. I wanted to let everyone know, that if printing runs smoothly, the Safer Society Foundation will have a new title available in the end of Dec. 2001, titled: But He Says He Loves Me: Girls Speak Out on Dating Abuse by Nicole B.
Sperekas, Ph.D. (Order number wp079 $15.00 + shipping.) On the note of catalogs, Safer Society Foundation specializes in sexual abuse prevention and treatment publications. As seen above we have a few miscellaneous titles in the domestic abuse field as well. If anyone on the Silent Witness mailing list would like to receive up to 200 catalogs for FREE for their offices/trainings/survivors/colleagues, etc. please notify me and I will get them to you immediately (I will even pay the shipping!)
My contact information is: Tammy Kennedy Research, Referral & Marketing Director Safer Society Foundation PO Box 340 Brandon, VT 05733
802-247-3132 Fax 802-247-4233 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Thanks, Tammy for this resource. We need all the resources we can get.
NEWS FROM WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS:
The National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence has a new job available:
The National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence is very excited to announce a job opening for a new position: Sexual Assault Projects Coordinator. This new position will be directing our new training collaboration with the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement to train officers on sexual assault investigation. The posting and application will be on our website NTCDSV website <www.ntcdsv.org> Christina Walsh National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence 2300 Pasadena Drive Austin, Texas 78757 512.407.9020 (voice) and 512.407.9022 (fax)
New Toolkit for Communities Against Domestic Violence
The Violence Against Women Office, Office of Justice Programs, is pleased to announce the release of the Web-based Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, a product of the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. You can find the Toolkit on the Internet at
Attached to this email is a letter from Attorney General Ashcroft and Housing and Human Services Secretary Thompson, the co-chairs of the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. It is hoped that this new resource will provide the guidance necessary to assist communities in their efforts to end violence against women. For more information about violence against women issues and grant opportunities, visit the Violence Against Women Office Web site at
I leave you today with a quote from Albert Einstein:
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
You are the miracles in my life.