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September 17  Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

I'm back from the most wonderful and restful vacation. I thought of all of you angels out there, of your energy and love and unending support. I wallowed in gratitude for you--and then went and ate a big lobster on the beach!!

This week I'm sad for the people on the East Coast facing the hurricane. It seems every season holds some threat of natural disaster for some part of the country. We are having a gorgeous fall and it is hurricane season elsewhere. The spring is lovely all over but it is our tornado season. That is a good reason for us all to stick together. And speaking of sticking together, I have an update for you in the body of the newsletter on both Nanci Bobrow and John Peterson who you have been so faithful in supporting through their recent crises.

It's getting close to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I hope all of you plan to attend some event in your state, even if you are not part of the planning of it. We hope to have at least 45 states involved. We just got Louisiana involved which is WONDERFUL. That leaves only a few dormant states left to revive.



Marty Tuttle (Silent witness supporter, Utah), Erin Grothues (college student, New School for Social Research, NY),Tamara Willard (CASA, Myrtle Beach, SC), Kim Isham (Louisiana Domestic Violence association), LInda Compo-Blazich (Tulare County Family Services, Visalia, CA), Water on Stone (Women's Resource Center), Catherine Benson (Cal State, Long Beach, Silent Witness coordinator).


Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington State, Wyoming.



Diane and John Peterson (our coordinators in Arizona) are facing one challenge after another. He is now on chemotherapy because of the spreading of his lung cancer and two weeks ago landed in the hospital with pneumonia. But in talking to Diane a week ago, she said they are experiencing each day as a gift and they even took a ride up into the mountains the week after the pneumonia hospitalization. They were both tired but they relished in the beauty of the Tucson mountains. They are feeling a lot of support from their immediate community and from Silent Witness. That's what it's all about as we well know. Diane is reading Tuesdays with Morrie and underlining almost every page!! She says she loves it because it says so much about LIFE.

And John took the time to respond to my little treatise on Soul Leadership. He says: Dear Janet: Kudos! Passion can be a gentle love that moves people slowly but determinedly to their goal. Love John Peterson

*John and Diane, you inspire us all. All our prayers are with you.


Nanci bobrow write to update us on her post-operative state.(Sent to me before my vacation so a little out of date, but the essence is the same!)

I want to again thank you and the incredible Community of Caring that is Silent Witness around this globe. I received messages from everywhere. All the positive energy did the trick to get me to the hospital buoyed on a wave of love. The prayers did the rest, resulting in my benign diagnosis. I am soooo thankful to God and to all my supporters. The love is truly tangible. I am 3 weeks post-op this very day and feeling pretty good after so major a procedure. I tire a lot more quickly than before and more quickly than I would like but I'm being sensible and patient with my body. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. Too many people to thank individually but each is receiving my love and thanks. So a special hug to you.. Talk to you in September.

*Nanci, we're so glad you well and really on the mend. What a grand network of supporters showed up. Good going, gang!!


We have a new Silent Witness exhibit in Louisiana: Three cheers!!

Kim Isham writes:

I have recently been hired to a new position in our local DV association. Since they have no pr dept established I will be on my own. According to your site there is no Silent Witness program in Louisiana. Is it possible to get info on how to get started mailed to me?

*Welcome on board, Kim. We are thrilled to have you and we'll do anything we can to support you. We're so glad you're part of the team.


Joan Kennedy reports that their Silent Witnesses are divided into two groups of fifteen each so they can travel to different parts of the state in October and be available for several different groups to use.

*Thanks for this tip, Iowa. If the states with larger exhibits could split them up they might get more use out of them. The MN Witnesses were sometimes triple booked for weekends in October so we finally made some new sets.


Cindy Wolfson of NCJW Northshore and our Silent Witness coordinator says that their October event in Chicago includes a nine-member group of organizations in the area cooperating on a March that will include the Silent Witnesses. Also Cigna is sponsoring a play "Rule of Thumb" in Chicago in October that will include the Silent Witnesses.

*Great work, Illinois. We love you. Involving corporations is wonderful. Let's see even more of that.


Here's an exciting development bringing men into more involvement with Silent Witness. This could have a big impoct in communities all over the country. The description comes from Wayland Linscott in Portland, Maine, who is closely connected to Silent WItness, having attended the march and conference with his significant other, Susan Fuller, who spoke at the march.

A small group of men in the greater Portland area have agreed to gather in Longfellow Square in downtown Portland and hold a vigil and memorial celebration at 8PM on Thursday evening following any domestic homicide. Our gatherings are open to everyone, and the media is always invited. We always have some of Maine's Silent Witnesses on hand to draw attention to the fact that this is yet another tragedy which should never have happened. Typically the leader of the group, Greg Ford, who works with batterers in the Cumberland County Jail, starts the vigil by welcoming everyone and then trying to put a "face" on the victim, by relating what is known about her, focusing on her as a member of the community where she lived, the impact of her death on that community, and briefly on the senselessness and tragedy of her death.

Everyone is then invited to voice their thoughts. Those who have spoken have ranged from District Attorneys & local police, to local community leaders (men and women),including Women's Advocates, and leaders from various churches, to "regular" citizens- all speaking from their hearts, Breaking the Silence, and Taking a Stand. We try to stress the fact that the entire community- especially the men, must be accountable for taking a stand against violence against women and, that all the members of a community (again, especially the men) need to examine the attitudes which contribute to violence against women. "Silence is complicity, and truly, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

The vigil ends by "thanking those who have turned out this evening" and we ask them to join us in taking a stand against domestic violence in their local communities. We also have a sign up list for those who wish to be contacted for the next vigil, and encourage everyone to bring two friends or acquaintances to the next vigil. Slowly, we are getting larger. A new group is now meeting in Lewiston/ Auburn (perhaps Maine's second largest population center), and hopefully others will emerge.

This grassroots model is an excellent opportunity for state's Witnesses to "go to work" as a focal point for community awareness, and I encourage the various projects to find one or two men who will organize their communities- especially other men- and take up similar memorial vigils in their respective communities. Group by group, one block at a time, communities can get together, take a common stand, and send a loud, clear message that "No one deserves to be hurt, and this community will not tolerate domestic violence or the attitudes which foster it."

I'd love to get any feedback from anyone who is successfully getting men to organize other men to Take a Stand.

*Great work, Wayland. This is truly exciting, to see men get involved with us to make the world safer for all of us.


This wonderful news from Stephanie Lighter, our Boca-Delray coordinator:

Best news of all! The Greater Miami Section of NCJW have obtained the new plastic figures and are donating their original 29 witnesses to the NCJW Boca-Delray section!

Through our coalition with the Women's Studies Center at Florida Atlantic University and other women's groups we will be able to lend our SW to many organizations. Added to which I am also a member of the Domestic Violence Council of Palm Beach County. Through the many professional women on this Council, we will have wonderful facilities for storage and booking arrangements. We have two sticker programs going - one is going into all the public schools in the county and will say "ZERO tolerance -STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE." All students and teachers will be able to wear these stickers in Oct.The other campaign will be ongoing throughout the year. We will get permission from businesses, restaurants, doctors offices, etc., to put the following sticker inside the doors of ladies' bathroom stalls - don't cover up abuse - call 1-800xxxxxx (the wording is written inside a pair of sunglasses). The number will connect a person to the nearest local AVDA shelter.

And our court Watch program is growing fast! We are in 3 courts!

*Florida is growing by leaps and bounds. Great work going on there. Kudos to all of you.


Nanci Rafi and company are moving into some new realms in Rhode Island by linking up with the YWCA. Read this great story:

I met a woman named Anne Marie who runs a program through the YWCA called "Survivors Outreach Services" and connects to the families left behind, doing everything to helping them set up funeral arrangements, to going through the court systems and parole hearings. We're hoping it will work like this:

When a DV murder happens, we get in contact with the mayor of that town. Then, that mayor gets together the chief of police, superintendant of schools, chief of fire department, and anyone else he thinks should be involved. Then we (AnneMarie, me and Joy Williams, who is the director of Samaritians and works with families of suicide victims so that we don't forget the other family and friends that are grieving if there's been a suicide) meet with them, and give them an "informational" meeting - what you can expect from the community when a DV death happens etc...and offer to go into the schools/town businesses to speak about healing from homicide. We'll also offer to put together a vigil/march/remembrance for the community, either in a public building or park, with candles, poetry, music, and speakers, so that the community as a whole can come together and start to heal. This way, with a program in place, we'll be able to respond to DV deaths in the same way in every town.

Recently, AnneMarie introduced me to a woman who's daughter had been murdered in 1995 by a former boyfriend (she has JUST become a Silent Witness, due to the fact that the trials just ended with guilty verdits about a month ago). Anyhow, she and I sat down and talked and I offered her the option of having a Witness made for JennyLee and then presenting it to the community in a candlelight vigil. To say that she was overwhelmed wouldn't do justice. She had tears in her eyes as she thanked me for remembering her daughter (only child, murdered at age 17, 4 months pregnant). She not only wants to do a vigil, but would like to speak at our event in October! This is the first time that I've worked directly with a family member, so it's been incredibly impactful for me - I just love this program! It makes me realize how important this is to members of the community, so that they know that women are not forgotten.

*I love this collaboration. And the sensitive handling of the families is so important. Keep us updated on how this goes.


Shirley Earhart, from South Dakota gives us an update on their activities and on their resource, Sacred Circle, for Native Women.

I am forwarding this synopsis on Cangleska, Inc. and Sacred Circle, a member program of the SD Coalition Against DV & SA, for the next Newsletter. Sacred Circle conducts several national conferences and at each and every one, our Silent Witness Exhibit is a main focus. I would strongly urge anyone out there who is able to attend one of their conferences or contact them for information. Anotherstrong component of Cangleska, Inc. is Project Medicine Wheel, a program forbatterers that has been utilized and recognized nationally.


Sacred Circle is a National Resource Center dedicated to Ending Violence Against Native Women. Based in South Dakota, Sacred Circle addresses violence against Native women given the unique historical, jurisdictional and cultural issues that Indian Nations face. Sacred Circle and its mother organization, Cangleska, Inc., recognize that violence against women is not traditional within indigenous communities, but is a system of behaviors and tactics used to obtain and maintain power and control over women as a group and as individuals.

The organization promotes the safety and integrity of Indian women and their children who are victimized by battering and rape. Sacred Circle is dedicated to supporting the personal sovereignty and cultural tradition of the sacredness of women and children is integral to its work.

Sacred Circle provides resources, technical assistance, consultation and training to tribes and tribal organizations seeking to end violence against Native women and increase Indian Nations' capacity to provide direct services and advocacy to women and their children.

For more information please call 605-341-2050 or toll free 1-877-Red Road (877-733-7623); write to 722 St. Joseph St., Rapid City, SD 57701 or email: scircle@sacred-circle.com

Governor Janklow has set into place a Domestic Violence Task Force which will look at all of the issues. Two members of the SDCADVSA have been invited by the Governor to sit on this Task Force.

*This is really great, Shirley and colleagues. You are offering a much needed service for Native Women. Thanks for all you do.


Two reports from Ohio. The first one is from Stephanie Hughes, Columbus Jr League:

I have some great news about Silent Witness in Columbus Ohio. I have been invited to make a presentation about Silent Witness on Longaberger Television. The Longaberger Company is headquartered in Newark, Ohio. The company makes baskets. Most of it's employees come from rural Central Ohio. Longaberger Television is seen primarily by employees. Longaberger is a part of the Coalition against Family Violence and works hard to educate its employees about domestic violence.

Also, the Junior League of Columbus is donating the Witnesses to CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence. I plan to be involved with the Witnesses at CHOICES. I will be a part of the speakers bureau to discuss the Witnesses and the National Initiative. I would like to use any current information that you have to train other volunteers about the National Initiative.

*This is great news, that Columbus will be active with its Silent Witness exhibit. Thanks for the good work, Stephanie.

And message from another new partner in Ohio, Patrick O'Donnell of Dayton:

An update for you... I spent the morning going to the local lumber yard where I picked up six sheets of plywood to make sixteen Witnesses -- the wood was generously donated by the president of the lumber company. I then went to the local hardware store and picked up the paint, again, generously donated. And finally to Bellbrook High School, where students from the woodworking class will be cutting the figures and folks from an art class will be painting them.

The Silent Witnesses we currently have are woman and children killed in 1993. We felt that before we displayed the Witnesses, women who have died in the last couple of years should be represented. It was very encouraging to get the support from the local merchants and educators, making it possible to get the Witnesses made.

The Witnesses will be at the Dayton YWCA the first week in October,followed by another week at Wright State University. Another local merchant donated store and lock space to put the Silent Witnesses and supplies, but, as I told him, "The Silent Witnesses will rarely be here, they will be out telling their stories."

*Great work Patrick. These Witnesses will be loved by the whole community because so many were involved in making them. And yes, they will be out there telling their stories. Thanks a lot.


A surprise: We have a Silent Witness exhibit at Cal State, Long Beach and we didn't even know it. Welcome Cal State!

My name is Catherine Benson and I just offically became the co-ordinator for the Silent Witness exhibit here on the Cal State University, Long Beach campus (brought to you by Leadership Long Beach and the campus' Women's Resource Center www.csulb.edu/centers/wrc). I am just learning all about this wonderful organization and hope to continue to get more and more involved as the minutes pass.

I would love to receive the SILENT WITNESS newsletter! And I will be ordering some shirts and materials as well too. It looks as though I am going to be the Domestic Violence Awareness contact for our Women's Resource Center, and I am excited to do so.

*Catherine, we'll add you to the web site and to our list of contacts. Thanks for getting in touch and we'll hope to hear more from you soon.


Beryl Rock, our Native American Silent Witness coordinator in MInnesota writes:

I thank those who work hard on the Silent Witness Initiative. I have been inspired by them to create a display of siloquettes. I have put together 7 figures representing Native American Indian women killed by Domestic Violence. My vision came to me as I marched in Washington D.C. in 1997. I wanted to bring an awareness to Native communities across the country. I have received many supportive responses during displays. There are 7 figures at Women of Nations in St. Paul. And I am currently working on 2 new ones. These 2 will be sponsored by Mending the Sacred Hoop in Duluth, Mn. These 2 new figures will be on display at the "Women are Sacred" Conference in December 1999 at Flagstaff, AZ.

*Thanks for the great work, Beryl. And your witnesses with their Native headdresses are so special.



I would like to highlight the special projects that Silent Witness coordinating groups have done in the RESULTS book. These would be projects that are not listed under the Results Projects but are coordinated by Silent Witness groups, for instance, Los Angeles JR League Silent Witness High School Rallies; N. Westchester High School Leadership program; Rhode Island College SW Vigil Resource Guide; Nashville Jr League Women's Advocacy Program; Ann Arbor Jr League's High School Education Program. I will have room for one project and will count on you letting me know if you would like to have a project included in the book.

Also if you would like to have your active Silent Witness committee members names from your state listed, I think I might have room to include them, again if you write to me and tell me you want their names in. I don't have the resources to call everyone and solicit these names.



We got this great request from Chris Privett of the national Attorneys General office:

I am Communications Director for the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).I am trying to find a list of state contacts for Silent Witness information-- I would like to provide that contact information to the Public Information Officers in our state Attorneys General offices so that they might be able to organize Silent Witness events in their states this fall.

*We have had such great cooperation from the Attorneys General around the country. 20 were represented at our march in Washington. So we are grateful to them for including Silent Witnesses in October events.


This wonderful note comes from Barbara Arnold, a great supporter of Silent Witness and a courageous woman doing great programs in her organization.

I am the national president of Women in Ophthalmology, and along with our vice-president Jacqueline Lustgarten at Jdslmd@aol.com we have a 10 foot by 10 foot booth in which to display Silenet Witnesses in Orlando Florida at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting October 21 to October 28, 1999. We need access to the most easily transported statues so as to effectively fill our booth space. Over 25,000 physicians and allied health professionals will be at this international meeting in Orlando.

Also, you can visit the website: www.bjarnold.com and see more about my practice and about women in ophthalmology. Our domestiv violence symposium has the list of speakers printed for our national meeting on October 24.

A sincere thanks to the many people who responded so warmly to my piece on Soul Leadership: Passion Required. I really appreciated your comments. If anyone wants me to email them another copy, please let me know. I leave you today with a quote from Anne Lamott, from her book Traveling Mercies.

Forgiveness is the willingness to let go of your desire to have a different past.



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