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June 18 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I'm back home from the Steering Committee meeting in St. Louis and I'm eager to give you an update on the fabulous meeting of Silent Witness angels from the EIGHT states and six different organizations that were represented.  The energy in the room was contagious. It makes so much of a difference to connect a name with a smiling face. Thanks to all of you who made such a great effort to be there. (See National Section of newsletter for details).  We all wonder sometimes if we are making a difference. It helps to know that Gandhi thought about those things too. Here's a quote to start your day, from the master of social change and gentle revolutions himself.  "You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results."-Gandhi


WEB SITE IS HOT: www.silentwitness.net Every newsletter is now on the web along with the state coordinator's list and the treatise on Personal Power and Silent Witness.



Deb Aden (Dir, Rape Services/Men's Treatment, Sioux Falls, SD), Dotty Heydinger (friend of SW, 80+ years old, MN), Beth Murray (Jr. League, SW Coordinator,  Cincinnati), Laurie Rummel (NCJW, Nashville, new email address),Sheriann Hamilton (Women's Center, Louisville, KY), Holly Mae Curtis (Peace at Home, Boston), Diane Graeter (NCJW, Louisville, Court Watch Co-director), Lisa Macri, Sharon Kolb (Sojourner Shelter, SW Collaborative, Woonsocket, RI), Lois Herman (Women's Human Rights Consultant, MN), Rose Mary Meyer (Women's Center,  Chicago), Jane Etheridge (Women's Center, Murray State, KY), Debra Mize (shelter, Belleville, IL), Jan Abbey (Safehome, Kansas City, SW regional director).



The 1997 DV homicide report on female homicides by intimates is in and I am so excited to announce that the numbers TOOK A SHARP DOWNWARD TURN BETWEEN 1996 AND 1997. We chose 1500 DV homicides of women as the starting point for Silent Witness in 1993-4 when we began the national recruitment effort. It was actually the number of figures you all brought to the march. By government records it was acutally 1581 in 1993.

We need to be at 750 in 2002 in order to be half way to our gaol of 0 by 2010.   FRIENDS, AT THIS PACE WE ARE GOING TO MAKE IT TO 0 BY 2010.

We just learned from the Louisville NCJW Court Watch program that the judges in their county invited them to help develop a dedicated court for DV cases. This is exactly what they had as a goal. Their position paper with court statistics to back up their statements made a huge difference with the judges. This is a great example of how collaboration and persistence works. Contratulations to Connie Fox and Diane Graeter who are co-directors of that program. And for those of you who think you need a huge grant to start court watch, their budget this year (fourth year) was $800. They started the program with not much more than that!!!  And we just found out that Belleville, Illinois already has a dedicated DV court with a woman judge. It streamlines the system for women and helps the judge remember who is repeating battering behavior. Thanks to Debra Mize for informing us and for working hard in Belleville.




Kristen Giatzis of the Jr. League of Northern Westchester County has this wonderful report:
In May their League, along with nine other organizations (53 volunteers) held a day long Teen Dating Violence Symposium in their area. They personally invited 20 young women and men leaders from 14 high schools in the region and more than 280 students came (35% were young men!!). The program included a keynote speaker, a theater group performing "Love Shouldn't Hurt," small group facilitated discussions (defining abusive relationships), the Silent WItness display, a police officer presentation,small group discussion (Advocacy Against Abuse and For Respectful Relationships), a panel discussion with student Q and A, and goodie bag handouts. These are mostly affluent high schools, and one young man stood up in front of his peers and said that he thought his behavior was just "driven behavior" because he's such a go-getter but now he sees that he could be hurting his girlfriend with his behavior. This took a lot of courage. At the end of this powerful day they asked for volunteers to be trained for a teen peer leadership program and 70 students signed up. They will plan the training this summer and than have a whole year follow up program next fall. Kirsten Kiatzis was the chair of this wonderful committee and she was pregnant at the time of this event. The night that the event was held she went into labor and delivered that night. Wasn't it providential that she waited so she could see the event? What a wonderful story.

*Thanks for all this great work, Kirsten and company. This ongoing program is a way for this message to go on at all those schools. Way to go.



This note from Bonnie S Linscott, from the Naval Air Station near Seattle:
Thank you for including me in the mailings of the newsletter -- they are such a valuable source of information. I am very excited about our October DV awareness project as we have reserved the traveling Silent Witness exhibit and will display it for one week, and end the week with a program on the Naval Air Station. Thanks also for putting me in touch with Bonnie at the Eastside Domestic Violence Program in Seattle as she has been most helpful.  

*This sounds like a powerful program. It is exciting to see the military getting so much more involved.



A story with a wonderful twist from Molly Talbet of the Jr. League of Cincinnati:
The Silent Witness exhibit in Cincinnati is now fully protected with their own body bags. It seems that when they were going to Columbus for a big event last year, one of the grandmothers of a Jr. League member made twenty body bags for their Witnesses so they would not be knicked in transit. What a wonderful grandmotherly thing to do. Our Witnesses are being loved more and more all the time with such thoughtfulness. The Jr. League in Cincinnati is housing the exhibit at the YWCA and collaborating on the use of it. Beth Murray is the new Jr. League Coordinator for SW. 

*Great work, Cincinnati. Welcome Beth. And great collaboration. You are wonderful.



Here's a real keeper!! A young woman wrote this to me from Oregon:
The Silent Witness Exhibit came to my school, Clackamas Community College of Oregon, in the fall of 1998. I was impressed by the turn out and the feelings of it being here. I heard many people say that they had an erie feeling when visiting the exhibit. The experience was astounding. It had an especially strong impact on me because I had known a 15-year-old victim that was represented there. She had attended my high school. I am now doing a presentation for a sociology class at the same college on the exhibit and domestic violence specifically on battered pregnant women. Thank you. 

* If any of you ever wonder if the work you are doing is paying off, just reread this little piece and tape it to your computer. You are all making a difference.



Anne Kleinert of the Texas Council on Family Violence sent us a copy of their newly published court monitoring program manual called "Court Monitoring: Model Program for Family Violence Programs and Citizen Groups." They have just distributed the manual to all the family violence programs and batterer intervention programs throughout Texas (109 total) with the hope that they will begin a court watch in their own community. Anyone may use the material and is encouraged to do so. All they ask is that you credit them for the copyrighted material. This is very exciting because it is truly a collaborative effort. Anne consulted with several court watch programs,   including those in Minnesota and Kentucky to put this together. We are so pleased with the results. And we will be eager to see how many court watch programs are started in Texas as a result. The manual is available from The Texas Council on Family Violence 512-794-1133 or fax 512-794-1199.

*Thanks for all this wonderful work, Anne. Congratulations on a fine product. This will make a big difference in Texas.



Pauline Flanagan, of the McKenzie/Flanagan team, writes from Alaska about their Silent Witness activities in the last several months:
Last October Alaska's Silent Witnesses first traveled to Fairbanks where they were part of the local hospital's display on domestic violence, then flew to Juneau (state capital) where they were the major focus for the local women's shelter Domestic Violence Awareness event. In late spring they were presented to a large group of legal folks meeting to discus various legalities of Domestic Violence. When our Witnesses are not traveling around the state they reside in my Anchorage garage where they are ready at a moment's notice for another flight. Too bad I can't get their accumulative "miles." Marcia McKenzie takes care of the paperwork, and I take care of their flight arrangements.

*What nice team work, since everywhere they go in Alaska they have to fly!! Thanks to both of you for the wonderful work.



Betty Winkle of Miami writes that they have another set of Witnesses there. In addition to the "experienced" witnesses, they have a new set of PVC plastic ones which she says are a dream to work with.

*Great to hear this Betty. And they are easier on the back too!! Thanks.

And this word from Geri Haynes who heads up the Family Violence Task Force in Sarasota:
Now the great news! -- I got the word on Thursday that the Witnesses will be displayed at the county administration buildings (there are 4 bldgs) for 4 two week periods, and we're shooting for a courthouse for the month of October. Baby steps!!

*This is real progress, not just baby steps, Geri. What a great leap forward. Nice work, team Sarasota.



Joanne Coghill writes that as a result of their successful high school program last month they are already getting requests from other high schools in the area. One of her committee members, Valerie Real, works in the Inglewood school district and they just has a shooting this past week. Valerie mentioned the assembly that was done at Manual Arts to the school admininstators and they are interested now. The Jr. League of Los Angeles donated money to Silent Witness in the names of the speakers who they had at their school program. This was wonderful and we sent our beautiful notification cards to all the speakers. Thanks a lot for this, LA.

*Keep up the good work in LA. We eagerly watch your progress and your energy is contagious.



Nancy Rafi, Lisa Macri and Sharon Kolb mesmerized us at the Steering Committee  meeting with their description of the Silent Witness programs they developed for college campuses. Their specialty is college campuses!! It was so moving we were near tears just hearing the details of their programs. They get the students so involved that it is hard not to become an activist. Since it is a little too detailed to describe in a paragraph, they agreed to write up their program and  make it available to all of you. They plan to do that this summer and we'll pass it along to all of you. Oh, and they also plan to start several Court Watch programs in Rhode Island as well this year. This is an energetic group who came on board two months before the march in Washington and not only made their exhibit (after getting a few donated figures from Maine and Vermont) but brought 23 people to the march as well. YES.

*Go Rhode Island. It was so wonderful to have three people travel so far to come to the Steering Committee meeting. They had to raise the money to get there. How inspiring.



I just received a wonderful package from Rosemary Raiman of White Plains, MD. She sent great pictures of the Silent Witness her husband, Irwin, made for Charles County, MD. Rosemary's niece was a victim of DV and Rosemary and her friend, Fern Brown wanted to present the county board with the gift of an uncounted woman figure to represent women in their county who have been victims of DV.There were several other officials at the ceremony when they presented their Witness to the commissioners. Rosemary is not a newcomer to activism. She works as an advocate at the Center for Abused Persons, is vice chair of the County Dept of Social ServicesBoard of Directors, a member of the Maryland Network Against DV, and the Maryland  Coalition. But she made this generous gesture as a concerned citizen. They are hoping that other citizens and family members of victims will learn of the project and choose to add other figures in remembrance of their loved ones who have been lost in acts of domestic violence.

*Thanks so much Rosemary, Irwin and Fern. This was a most generous and memorable tribute. We hope it generates a lot of commitment and a reduction in violence.

We just heard from Pat Lupson, mother of a Silent Witness in Maryland. She says:
I just got appointed, by our County Executive, to our county Victim Services Advisory Board. This board works with county policy for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and homicide. I look forward to bringing a positive contribution to the board.   And from Holly Funk we got this notice of her departure from the Attorney General's and LT. Governor's Family Violence Council. She'll be the new Assistant Attorney General to the Maryland Police & Correctional Training Commissions.Jodi Findelstein will be taking over the Family Violence Council. Welcome Jodi.

*We wish you all the very best as you take up these new posts. More power to you all.



Our wonderful NCJW Nashville coordinator, Laurie Rummel is moving to Phoenix in August. So all of you energetic Arizonians be sure to contact her to lasso some of her energy. We've had coordinators and SW supporters move before and it lights fires in the new places. Her email is laurie.rummel@home.com

*Go Laurie. Go Tennessee. Go Arizona!!!



Debra Mize came to the Steering Committee meeting and totally surprised us on three counts. First, she has an exhibit in Belleville that we didn't know about. Second, she told us there is an exhibit at the Scott Air Force Base, the first military establishment to have an exhibit of their own. And third she already has a DV court in her county, which is quite wonderful. So much good news all at once. They housed their Silent Witness exhibit at their court house for a whole  month. YES.

*Great work Debra and company. Keep up that wonderful energy.



Sally Katzif, our SW mentor for data collection policies, informed us at the Steering committee that their legislation for mandatory data collection on DV homicides of women passed in the last session and will go into effect soon. Their attorney general, the NCJW and the Coalition worked together on this effort and it was well worth it. For a copy of their legislation email Sally at katzifsal@aol.com  or SW headquarters. Also the St. Louis NCJW just developed a Jewish Domestic Violence Task Force which was two years in the making. They are having an opening event with a well known Rabbi speaking. St. Louis recently added a 24 hour OFP procedure. They have advocates that go to the home of every DV call with the police and they have a judge on call to issue the orders. What a coup.

*This is wonderful news, Sally. There is so much effort that goes into all of  this. And Sally's latest accomplishment was to work her wiles on a friend of  hers to get tickets for me (a confessed baseball fan) to go see Mark McGwire play baseball while I was at the Steering Committee in St. Louis. I am eternally grateful!!!



A powerful story from Jan Abbey of Kansas:
It seems Carla Stovall, the Attorney General of Kansas was so moved by the Silent Witness exhibit there that she had a figure commissioned for a good friend of hers who was murdered by her husband. Here is the story: Regina, Age 40. April 9, 1991 Westminster, Colorado. Regina was leaving the United Methodist Church, where she was an associate pastor and had just finished teaching a Monday night Bible study class, when her estranged husband, a former Catholic priest, confronted her in the church parking lot. When she refused to enter the car with him, he shot her five times and then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.

*It is so sad to read these stories and know how many lives have been touched by domestic violence. And we are grateful to the involvement of 20 of our country's attorneys general with Silent Witness. Their help has been invaluable.



Gloria Champion, our faithful coordinator in NM recently spoke at a VAWA state wide meeting about her efforts in the Navajo Nation with Silent Witness and with the Stosny Treatment model. She was very well received and has generated enough interest to get three new sets of Witnesses started in New Mexico.

*Thanks Gloria for all the hard work in generating more interest in NM. We salute you.



We found out that the Arizona Coalition is writing a protocol for a Court Watch program similar to the effort in Texas, to stimulate court watches in that state.

*Great to hear this. Keep going Arizona.



A St. Paul church used the Silent Witnesses for Mother's Day and the minister included a perspective on domestic violence in his sermon. It was a very powerful event. The woman who arranged for the exhibit was an 80+ year-old energetic senior citizen named Dotty Heydinger who has been following the development of the SW exhibit for quite some time.

*Go Seniors. Thanks for all your help. Senior Citizens made the whole original Arizona exhibit. YES

A suburban church that originated the DART model has now used the Stosny prevention model "Regulating Anger and Resentment" with more than 200 people at the church in small groups. The evaluations consistently come back very positive showing behavior change (similar to the ones I printed in a previous newsletter). Any of you who are interested in great prevention classes in non-threatening environments with programs that are proven to work, get in touch with Donna Bennett at Colonial Church 612-925-2711.

*This DART model and the associated programs are now operating in three large churches in the Twin Cities. We're starting to move the mountain!!!



As I said, we had a fabulous meeting in St. Louis, despite the challenges of getting there with all the storms around the country that weekend. Eight states were represented; Missouri, Kansas, Rhode Island, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kentucky. And these organizations were represented: NCJW, Jr. League, Treatment providers, Coalition, Shelters, concerned citizens.  Thanks to Nanci Bobrow and Sally Katzif for recruiting the people to come to the meeting. We saw albums and brochures of several programs and best of all we heard story after story of how the Silent Witnesses are making history and changing lives across the country. We heard powerful stories from the March and Sally read the poem her 14-year-old daughter read at the march. We heard about how Vermont and Maine donated figures to get RI started and we found out all the great things that have happened from that act of kindness. We met new people and  made new friends. The program was so awesome. After we got acqainted again with the goals and mission of Silent Witness and how we plan to get to 0 by 2010 through Results Projects in every state, it was time to really dig in and learn. Connie Fox and Diane Graeter, the co-directors of the Louisville NCJW Court Watch gave us a hands on demonstration of how to start a court watch and supplied us with everything we need to have to get it going, including extensive materials,energy and hope. They have such good relationships with the judges in their county that they were asked to help develop a dedicated DV court. And this just happened two days before they got to the meeting. What great timing. Three states who were at the meeting are planning to start court watch programs. The afternoon session featured Rose Mary Boerboom, who finally landed, a day late, due to the storms. She stirred our hearts with an overview of thelatest in treatment research and success stories and taught us how to get a successful  treatment model going in our states. Less than a week later, we already have interest in three states. Ths last thing we did was learn what our preferred learning style is and how it can help us to make plans to move forward in our states. We made plans for what each state would do when they returned home. I wish you all could have been there. I left there knowing again that Silent Witness has reached into the heart of this country through all of you and that we are healing this nation. It was awesome.



These wonderful people have agreed to be the core group to recruit states for October Silent Witness events. I've divided the country into several regions so the recruiters can work with people in their surrounding states.

VICKI AMUNDSON/JERRI MILLER: Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Alaska.

JOANNE COGHILL/LUCIA NORDSTROM: California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Hawaii, Louisiana.

MONICA BLAIZGIS/JAN FUHR: Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware.

STEPHANIE LIGHTER: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington DC.

JAN ABBEY: Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee.



While I was calling all the states to update lists for the web site, I ran across two states who have no current exhibit, a few states with no contact number and a few states who didn't return my call. We need your help with a few   of these so we can have active exhibits in all 50 states on an ongoing basis. I've already heard from a few of you regarding these states and I thank you. Virginia: no contact. We need another organization to take over there. Do any of you have good contacts with BPW, Jr. League, NCJW, YWCA or other organizations? Hawaii: Nanci, our Coalition contact there, needs an organization to be the sponsor of SW and make an exhibit for Hawaii. Does anyone have good organizational contacts with NCJW, Jr. League, YWCA, BPW or others in Hawaii? Louisiana: I couldn't locate the name or telephone number of the Coalition  there. Can anyone help here?

States I haven't heard back from and would love to have an update on are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Vermont, and West Virginia. Please call or email and let me know the current status of Silent Witness in these states.


STATES ON BOARD FOR OCTOBER SILENT WITNESS EVENTS SO FAR: 10 States. (If you're planning something, please let us know) Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington State.


STATES WITH MULTIPLE SILENT WITNESS EXHIBITS: 25 (If there are others please let me know. It is just an oversight!!). Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,  Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.


STATES WITH RESULTS PROJECTS SO FAR: Please let me know if there are others. DATA COLLECTION (Supplemental Homicide Reports) 48 States. All except Kansas and Montana.


OTHER RESULTS PROJECTS (Court Watch, Quincy, Stosny Treatment, DART/Mississippi) 36 States, 70 projects. Alaska, Arizona, California (3), Colorado (2), District of Columbia, Florida  (5), Hawaii, Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Indiana (5), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland (4), Massachusetts, Minnesota (8+), Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,  Nebraska, New Jersey (2), New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio (2), Oklahoma (2),South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee (2), Texas, Utah, Virginia (3), Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (5).



The following addresses house valuable information on statistics, programs and victims of domestic and family violence from the Justice Department.

For instant information on homicide data from 1976 to 1997 go to: www.ojp.gov/bjs/homicide/intimates.htm
Crime victims: www.ncjrs.org/victdv.htm or www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/
Bureau of Justice Assistance: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/
Bureau of Justice Statistics: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: www.ncjrs.org/
Violence Against Women Office: www.usdoj.gov/vawo



For the second time, the national convention of Presbyterian Women are planning to use the Silent Witness exhibit to raise awareness and commitment to the issue of Domestic Violence. We are so pleased that they are setting this up a whole year in advance so they are sure to be able to use the Witnesses. Thanks to Amy Tuttle who is making sure this happens.



I got a great notice from Idealist, a FREE internet service to help you recruit volunteers, hire staff, or recruit interns for your SW or other activities. You just enter your organization and information abaout your mission, services and your volunteer/staff needs etc and then let people access you. People search by location, keywork, or area of interest and they can subscribe to mailing lists  which will automatically update them with new information. It is run by Russ Finkelstein, Dirctor of Outreach, Action Without Borders, www.idealist.org   212-271-6732. To join: www.idealist.org/IS/neworg.html


I leave you today with a poem about hope when hope doesn't seem possible. Hope is what keeps us going. Keep holding on to hope, because the healing is working in our country. It is working because of you.

The Tides of Life
At the beach when the tide is going out,
the waves recede and it seems
that nothing is happening in the sea.
But the truth is that the great swells
are gathering strength beneath the waters,
building energy for the time
the tide will return...

It's similar to times in our lives
when something we have depended on
is gone and we are left
with a feeling of emptiness and sadness.

At times like this we can take heart
Knowing that an unseen strength
is building within us.
And if we can only be patient
relying on a sure faith,
the tide of life will turn
and happiness and fulfillment
will once again return to us.

Dean Walley



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