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Thank you messages from those who have received shawls.


I just received the two boxes of shawls that you sent - THANK YOU!!! I feel like I'm swimming in them!

I had a magical day today... I had to take our shelter van to the shop for some service. When I was ready to leave, the cashier looked at my ticket and saw "Women's Resource Center" and asked me, "Is this for battered women?" I said yes. Then she asked me, "Do you get federal funding that covers this?" I told her that we received some, but we rely mostly on grants and donations. She handed me back the credit card and insisted that she pay for our bill herself, saying that she knew "what its like," and reached for her purse. She didn't take no for an answer.

As soon as I got back in the van, I knew I had to go back to the shelter and get her a shawl and bring it right over to her. When I gave it to her she had this look of wonder on her face. It was beautiful. She kept saying, "You didn't have to do this..."

It was a nice moment.


Hi Janet,
I wanted to let you know that all of the shawls and scarves have been received and they are beautiful! I'm sorry I did not get back to you earlier, but things have been hectic. Two of the shawls went to adult daughters of a woman that was killed in Williamsburg County. Her murderer was convicted last week and sentenced to 40 years. I am in the process of contacting another woman whose daughter was raped and murdered by a neighbor. The neighbor was supposed to be in prison on a violation of probation and a bond error resulted in his release. This happened in the fall of last year and the mother is having a terrible time - particularly because this would not have occurred if the system had worked! I know that a shawl will bring her a little bit of comfort.

I wanted to get a mailing address for you, because I'd like to make a contribution. As a non-profit my organization is not able to do so, but I would like to help with the cost of the shipping - I hope that you will continue to be able to "do what you do" for a long time!


In searching the web for domestic violence issues I met Nancy Rafi in Rhode Island.
There was a link for a FREE shawl on the website. Not knowing how fabulous this was about to be, I asked her to send my mother one and my sister since Mama is living with her at this time in Raleigh, NC.  I went to visit with my younger sister this past Saturday, and was so moved to find that from my interest through emails to Nancy Rafi, that she had three shawls sent (yes, one for me also).  This is truly a comfort to sit with my shawl over my shoulders.  All of us were very thankful and I will be writing to my knitter since she did a splendid job on the one I picked. Hilda Pizzuti is her name, and I feel the love she put in this while she sat and worked.  Just wanted to write you after reading parts of your newsletter today at work.   What wonderful things you are doing.
My youngest sister Danette Streater was murdered by her so-called boyfriend in 1998.
We may never find peace without her. She was one of the kindest, and most precious women anyone could know. Now, we don’t get to grow old with her in our lives.
Sorry this is so long.  I must go, but thanks.

With a loving heart, Debby Wheeler

This woman received a shawl that was purchased from the Sheila Shawl Extravaganza and sent to her as a surprise. Her donor wrote to her just after this message.
Dear Nancy and  Janet,

Today, I  recieved the most beautiful SW shawl in the mail. There was no note  accompanying it, so I suspect I have a good fairy out there somewhere. I'm  incredibly moved by the generosity of this person.
Although I  haven't lost somebody to domestic violence, I am a survivor, and the gift of  the shawl is the loveliest, most nurturing thing anybody has done for me in  a long time. :) I can already hear my girlfriends oohhing and ahhing over it  and I'll love telling them where it came from.
Would you please  pass on my loving thanks to the gift-giver, as well as the maker of the  BEAUTIFUL shawl - called "Over The Rainbow". I will wear it proudly and  think of you amazing people at SW, my own survival, my sister survivors and  of course, those who didn't survive.
Louise  McOrmond-Plummer xxx

Hi Janet. Thank you so much for the shawl you sent for our National Advisory Board launch. One of TCFV's board members attended the launch in DC and spoke about the tragic loss of her daughter at the hands of her daughter's husband. Sheryl presented the board member with the shawl after her speech. It was very touching and I know she sincerely appreciated it.

Thanks from a mother of a victim:

My name is Irene S, and my daughter Megan Fischer was murdered March 22, 2003.  My darling cousin Betty B, provided you with the names of my family, and we each received "Sheila's Shawls". What a wonderful organization. I can't thank you enough for your care, love and support for us, and others who have been victimized. The shawls have brought us such comfort and a sense of peace.The ladies who knit these shawls must be very special indeed. Their creations bring smiles and tears. The healing process becomes easier knowing how much people really care. The ladies I would like to thank are: Terry Wickstrom, Noreen Rite, and Merilu Jennings. God bless all of you and watch over you and your families.

My daughter Megan was such a loving, lively and beautiful woman. She trusted a friend, and he repaid her by taking her life. I wish you had known her. She would light up a room with her smile. Her laugh was so intoxicating, you couldn't help but laugh yourself. She was such a strong, proud and bright woman. She put herself through Culinary School, and graduated with honors, while working two jobs!  She was so generous with her family and friends, giving of her time and self constantly. She was the most caring, loving, gentle, fun, energetic and beautiful person I ever knew. She will be missed by so many. Thank you again Janet, and thank you to the Silent Witness National Initiative. You have a wonderful organization.

Forgive the lateness of this thank you for the Sheila Wellstone "Sheila  Shawls". My cousin Irene and her sons were very comforted by the shawls.  Their family has been at such a tragic loss without their daughter/sister.  The stepfather felt very left out so I gave him my shawl.  He went on to explain that all involved were very aware of the immediate family's loss and not one person asked how he is doing or maintaining through the tragedy.  He made a very important impact statement at the trial and truly has been very upset.  I felt he needed this shawl more than I. We are all very impressed with the craftsmanship of the shawls and the  great comfort they bring. Please thank all that worked on these shawls and express what a great comfort they have brought at this time of extreme pain.

My shawl refers to Solbeig Halbakken, Fergus Falls, - please extend my extreme gratitude to her for the comfort of the shawl, and explain that I haven given it to the stepfather who is in great pain. This was my first experience directly with domestic violence and all the pain caused.  I wish to God that there was a way to end ALL violence in the world, but especially towards women.  When will it end. Again many, many thanks to all involved in this project.  Keep up the special work you do. Betty B

Note from a woman who donated money for the shawl project:
Thanks for your note.  I came across your shawl project while researching prayer shawls on the internet.  I am in the process of starting a prayer shawl ministry at our church with a group of women.  As a child, I experienced the heartache and fear of domestic violence with a very abusive, alcoholic father.  Fortunately, my mother was able to get away with her seven children.  I hope my contribution can provide some help for comforting other women.  Teresa M.

Thank you for a shawl: I'm sitting here in my blue chair, as I do every day, but this time I have the wonderful shawl you gave me behind my shoulders. I'm really thrilled to have it and am eager for Barb, (the victim's mother) to see it. It's a wonderful way to be reminded of Bonnie, of you and the fine work you do, and of Sheila Wellstone.  MWM

Thank you for a shawl: I cannot begin to tell how much comfort the shawls have given to us.  Sometimes, sitting here at home alone, I reach for my shawl and just wrap myself in it - feeling the love that was made into it, the warmth that we all need when the bad memories hit hard, and remembering the good memories that I have of my little Kendall and Cordae.   Thank you for all the work you do.   God bless you and I pray for a peaceful holiday time for you and your family.  Fran B

Thank you from a DV program we gave shawls to for distribution: We have received the two boxes of shawls and scarves.  Thank you very much and please thank all the women who did the knitting. The shawls and scarves are so beautiful, as well as the letters that accompany them.  We appreciate your help in getting us started.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Lori

I received my shawl from Ruby Lee of Eagan, MN and it is BEAUTIFUL!  My mother received hers, also, and she was delighted.  The holidays are a particularly difficult time so it is wonderful to have something soft to snuggle into when feelings of grief or weariness overwhelm us. Thank you to all of you for all you do for the families of domestic violence.  I would love to link your site to mine so that perhaps others can connect with you and your wonderful program.  Best wishes and many blessings! Jane C

My Grandpa Bill made the first quilt for Tatum, a six year old who lost her
mother and grandfather to domestic violence. She sent me a letter thanking me for the quilt and told me, "I sleep with the quilt every night, it
reminds me of my mommy and how her arms might feel around me."

Shawl story from Minnesota: One of the Silent Witness board members, Bobbie Spradley, has knit at least ten or twelve shawls and scarves for the shawl project. She has a good friend, Elaine, who is a knitter too, and is in hospice care with terminal cancer. Elaine says she is determined to finish her shawl for our project while she still has strength. What a tribute to her, to the shawl project and to the women who receive these shawls.

Shawl Thank you: I received my beautiful navy blue wool shawl today, and at this moment have it around my shoulders. I can feel the comfort and love that went into making it. This is such a wonderful way to carry on the work of Sheila Wellstone, and to honor her memory. I will always treasure my shawl and remember that it symbolizes the higher purpose of ending domestic violence. Thank you so much. Mary Jane

Shawl thank you and request: That idea of polar blankets is so wonderful. I have 2 daughters. You can send the things you have or put them on the
waiting list. It doesn't matter to me. I just thought it would be nice for
them to have something too. They love my shawl. I let them have it when
they go to sleep and then I take it when I go to bed. So thought it would
be nice for them to have their own 'cuz I feel bad when I take it from them.
Again I want to thank you so much for everything that you have done and
continue to do for people. You and the others are a gift from God.

Thank you from Hawaii:I am writing to say thank you. I received your beautiful shawl as did my Mother and I was so taken by the thoughtfulness and beauty of your actions. The shawl is just gorgeous and I have it across my new sofa and it looks beautiful and a reminder that someone cares about Patty. I am still healing even after 26 years. It really matters. What a nice thing you are doing. It makes me feel so good knowing there are people out there who really do notice injustice and who really care.Thanks again and let me know if there is anything I can do. Jan H.

Thank you for a shawl: I got my shawl today. It is just beautiful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Shawl request: Michele writes: My name is Michele Newman from the Burke County Domestic Violence Agency, Options, Inc. We have a family that as of two months ago the husband and father were convicted in the death of Elizabeth E. She left behind a very wonderful mother and aunt who have taken her children into there home and given them every thing that they could need. We feel at Options that these two women are so brave and wonderful to have to put there feelings on hold to make the lives of Elizabeth¹s child better and to help deal with the lose of there mother. Not forgetting the lose of there own child and niece. The Shawl program would really let these two women know that we feel there lose and care for them as much as they cared for Elizabeth. Thank your for this wonderful initiative!

Thank you for a shawl: Today I was surprised by an unexpected package I received at the post office. Inside it, as I'm sure you know, was a beautiful hand knit shawl and a letter that brought tears to my eyes with the love it showed. Also, I was moved even more because I had the privilege to have met Sheila Wellstone a few years ago when I gave a talk in Minneapolis; and, in fact, she was scheduled to introduce the talk I gave at Metropolitan State last October; but she was unable to make it. But we did chat on the telephone; and a few days later I learned she'd been killed in a plane crash. Even though I didn't know her well, for some reason I've continued to carry around her phone number scrawled on a sheet of lined paper. I think the shawl project is extraordinary, and so are the loving words on the letter that came with it. I send my thanks to you and to Kathy Willy who knitted the beautiful and comforting shawl. Sincerely, Hedda

Thank you from coworkers: Janet, thanks to your program for the shawls for our friend Joyce, whose daughter and our coworker (Shar) died as a result of domestic violence, and Shar's daughter. We donated the extra shawl for Shar's coworkers to her sister. We all appreciated the shawls very much as a tangible way of comforting her family for their shock and grief following Shar's death. Thanks again. Spruce Woods Apartments staff. Thank you from a recipient in a small rural town:
I received my Sheila Shawl today. You had knit mine. I want to thank you so very much. This will be very comforting to me. When my sister was murdered by her husband in March 2002 I started sleeping with a care bear that my parents had given me as a child. It made me feel safe. I know it may sound crazy. I am 30 yrs old and sleeping with a care bear. I will use this shawl instead of my care bear. It is really amazing that there are people in this world that are so kind and generous. I truly want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely, Karla L

Thank you from Lousisana: I had a shawl sent to me by a friend who turned my name in. The person who made my shawl was Becka Brackett, Mpls, MN. I want to say thinks from the bottom of my heart. I am a victim of domestic violence. I was beaten by my husband in 1973. As a result of the beating I had two types of seizures, memory and comprehension problems from the brain injury. I am 53 and I was 23 at that time. I also lost my baby boy two weeks before delivery. I am so thankful for this shawl. Each time I look at it I see LOVE and feel LOVE. Thank you so much. God bless you all for all you are doing to stop this domestic violence.

Thank you from Minnesota:
Thank you for the beautiful shawl. The day I received the shawl, my
grandsons ages 10 & 11 (whom we finally got custody of after a year long battle) asked what it was for. I explained how to wear it or just to hold it when having a hard or bad day. They both started to argue over who was going to hold it that night. It definitely has a calming effect, they hold the shawl and sit or lay perfectly still. Maybe they feel their mothers love and affection coming through the softness of the shawl. Thank you again, Brenda J mother to Krista who was murdered by her husband March 24, 2002.

The Story of a DV Homicide Victim in Chicago: Cathy Bradley and her father Henry Woods Jr. were murdered in their home on April 24th, 2003 by her boyfriend. Southwest Women Working Together, a community-based women's organization where Cathy was an active participant for the past three years, honored Cathy at their annual Take Back the Night march and rally on May 1, 2003. Only a week after the tragic loss of her mother and grandfather, Cathy's daughter, Qianesha Vallot, together with her brother Jimi Bradley, spoke in front of over 250 community members at the rally about her great loss. Qianesha was very brave, and we are grateful and proud to have the opportunity to honor her and her aunt Jovan Woods each with beautiful shawls. We will remember Cathy and hold a place for her in our hearts always.

In memory of a homicide victim in MN:
Nancy J was a 42-year-old Certified Nurse's Aid who devoted her life to taking care of the elderly. Her life was taken by the man she trusted to be her partner on October 1, 2001. His trial for her murder begins July 14, 2003. She is deeply missed and will never be forgotten." A Note from a SW activist in Missouri: Thank you for the wonderful newsletter every month. I always read them, even if it takes me a week or so to complete. This month's newsletter contains a story about a woman, Krista, from MN, who was murdered on March 24, 2002, by her husband. I was particularly struck by the fact that she leaves behind an identical twin sister, Karla. I, too, have an identical twin sister, and I cannot imagine losing her so tragically. Twins share a special bond with one another. Identical twins share a bond that seems almost like each is a part of the other's body and mind. Because of our similar backgrounds, I feel drawn to Karla, and I would like to knit her a scarf. Recently, I began knitting colorful scarves with the new, fun yarns that have just started showing up at the knit shops here in St. Louis. I have truly enjoyed creating something from scratch, which is a new venture for me. (I am a beginner 'knitter', so I cannot follow patterns or knit anything as large as a shawl, but I have learned to knit these colorful, fun scarves that you see everyone wearing lately.) From the beginning, I wanted to be able to knit the scarves well enough to give them away to individuals and organizations. It would be an honor to give my first donated scarf to Karla. May I ask you to help me arrange to send the scarf, upon completion, to her? Love, Sally K

Follow up on the Twin mentioned above:
Hi again. I am in a twinless twins group and there are 2 people that I
would love to have a shawl. I thought it would be some comfort to them like it has been for me. Yes one of the twins did lose their twin to domestic violence. The circumstance in this situation is different than mine. I will share with you what happened. Tina is who I talk to. Her twin sister was murdered by her husband. The husband shot and killed Terri (Tina's twin), their 6 yr old son, and himself. She has been great a help to me in understanding the feelings that I am going through right now. She has gone through them herself and I thought that a shawl would bring her much comfort like mine has given to me. Again I want to thank you and everyone who puts their hearts and love into these shawls. My twinless twins will love them.
I know for myself it gives me great comfort. I sleep with the shawl every single night. I truly appreciate all the time and effort all of you put into making these shawls.

Oklahoma gives Shawl at billboard opening: Karen Hill writes that they are planning to give a shawl to the grandmother of a DV homicide victim. The victims name was Jody Lynch, G'ma's name is Ruth. Jody was beaten and her abuser hit her so hard in the chest that her heart burst. She had 2 children who witnessed the incident. Thank you for this project. We will present the shawl to G'ma at our kick off for our DV bill boards project.

Note from an activist in Tacoma, following the death of Crystal Brame, wife of the chief of police: Crystal's God Mother has been speaking at local gatherings for the family. We as women and volunteers have been rallying for a change within the system of the city council with regard to a special reporting agency for women of officers and public officials. They need extra protection because of the stature of their mates. We are working diligently on what is called the Crystal Clear Act. Today we bury Crystal and speak out at the local park against DV with many organizations in support of changes. I am writing you today because of your offering of shawls for loved ones whom have lost a daughter, mother or relative from DV.

Shawl story from MN: My niece, Krista was murdered on Mar.24, 2002. It happened at her home by the hands of her husband. The two things we trust in we should feel safe in our home and with our husband who is supposed to love us. After killing her, he loaded her into their car and tried to stage an accident. Krista's parents, my sister-inlaw have finally got full custody of the two boys. He is now serving prison time. I truly admire Gary and Brenda. All of this has been very emotional for them. Krista had a twin as well, her name is Karla . They were identical twins, it is like Karla has lost a part of herself. I don't know how many shawls can be sent to one family, but I would like Brenda to get one for sure.

Thank you from Montana:I wanted to tell you that the shawls and scarf are greatly appreciated. Jenn's 85 yr-old grandma immediately selected the sea green shawl, Jenn used to sing about "the sea of green" from the song Yellow Submarine while sitting in the trees of our yard. Although her arthritic fingers make grasping difficult, she holds the shawl and feels memories that are too painful to think about. The other shawl and scarf belong to a miraculous guardian angel of a friend who walked with me through months of grief-disabilitating days. She will feel comfort and hope from the shawl on chilly Montana evenings as she awaits the birth of her first child. And the hopes and dreams of the new mother and baby will be wrapped in thoughts of what wondrous gifts our children are. The shawls and scarf are tangible reminders of the love that my daughter, Jennifer O, made humbling to the proudest father in the world. I've created a memorial scholarship in my daughter's honor at her high school. Reading the hopes and optimism of the future that is written by applicants - soon-to-be graduates, has been difficult because they are the same hopes that were viciously stolen from my daughter through a selfish, cowardly act of domestic violence. I also wrote a song that gives a way for me to express my feelings, and it has been nice that Jenn's grandma has shared it with so many friends and that copies of the song on CD are going into so many hands. It is a way for me to help Jennifer live on in the hearts of so many who love and support each other in this little community. Thank you and all involved, for your work in the program. its too bad that such a support group even needs to exist, but thank God for the good people in the world. Norm O

Thank you from RI: We received our shawl and quilt on Friday. They are both beautiful! Thank you so very much, for myself and Frankie. Frankie would like to send Augusta a little note, if that would be o.k. My birthday falls on Mother's day this year, so I consider my shawl the most wonderful gift I could possibly receive. Many, many, thanks to all involved. Robyn

Thank you from MN: Thank You so much for sending us the shawls. Melissa was one of the most beautiful women I know and the shawls are just as beautiful .

Lecia B, California
She lost her daughter to Domestic violence

This note from Lecia B, the mother of a teenaged girl who was murdered by her x boyfriend in their home while the family slept. We are sending one of the first Sheila's Shawls to Lecia since she has been involved with Silent Witness for years now. She and her husband were at the march in Washington in 1997 escorting their daughter's silhouette. I hope we got the shawl in the mail soon enough so that she could take it with her when she spoke at the high school.

I am going to be speaking on Tuesday, February 4, to the theology classes at St. Josephs High School, my daughter's high school. The school has had the witnesses displayed several times and are very supportive of them. I am always amazed at the response that young people have to them. I truly believe that the best thing I can do when I speak is make violence a real life tragedy, not just a news story. Appealing to their hearts is the way to change and growth. I think I receive more from the kids than what I give.

[And here's the note we received from Lecia when she got her Sheila's Shawl: The shawl is lovely! The color is beautiful and the weight of it is wonderful. I can't quite put into words how special I feel and how special this project is. Thank you again for thinking of me. I will wear it tomorrow and every chance I get! Thank you again, Lecia]

Yvonne K, daughter Bridie B, Williamstown,MO
Yvonne lost a daugher and a husband to DV

Here's a note from a sister of a murdered woman who is about to receive a shawl. Her father and sister were murdered by her sister's x boyfriend. You can see how important this project is just from this one letter. She and her mother have donated the money to have a Silent Witness figure made in MO in honor of Brandie. Their shawls went out this week:

Janet, I just wanted to let you know how much this means to us. I have been a big fighter for Brandie and Domestic Violence. I have
organized a Remember My Name Ceremony at a local church one year. It was a great turnout. All of the participants in Brandie and Wayne's trial showed up, from the two prosecutors, the judge from the prelim, the homicide investigators, the sheriff and many family and friends. It was wonderful. It is my dream to one day go around the country and speak on Domestic Violence and tell Brandie's story.

We come from a town of 2000 people so this is not an every day headline. This was the first murder in over 50 years. I speak at the prison in Bowling Green, MO, giving Victim Impact Statements. It is difficult, but very healing. Brandie and Wayne deserve much more than I could ever do for them, but I do it to keep their names, story and memories alive. Brandie is my only sibling so this is very important to me. I also do it for Tatum (Brandie's daughter who is 5). I have spoken at a Regional Summit of Violence in Illinois sharing Brandie's story. I do what I can and at times it seems like it's not much. That is very frustrating to me. I would love to meet you sometime and just talk and get to know you and what you do.

I went to the website and made a memorial to Brandie. I also emailed the website to friends and family to do the same. We also have a Brandie Memorial Award that is given out every August at the nursing school she would have graduated from. She was three weeks away from becoming an LPN. She worked so very hard for that degree.

I am in constant contact with families like mine and share stories and help each other out. I thank you for your time and kindness to my Mother. The shawls are a wonderful idea. I also think a quilt or afghan would be great with personal items sewn into them. I think about doing that for my mother with items of Brandie's such as shirts, momentos, etc. Candles, trees, memory gardens, angels, wind chimes with purple ribbons.--anything can be done to honor the victims and to raise money for the cause. Thanks again and hope to be in touch with you when you have the time. Bridie

And here's the note we just received from her after she received the shawl:

I received my shawl today!! It is just absolutely gorgeous. I am so honored to have it and I can't thank you enough!! It means so very much to me. I just wanted to let you know I got it and to thank you for all you have done!!

Hello Janet! (Yvonne's shawl received)
I received the shawl yesterday!! Tatum loves it as much as I do! The comfort we feel when we lay it across our legs or wrap it across our shoulders is undescribable!! It warms our hearts, we feel as if it is Bo's (Brandie's) arms around us! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! Yvonne

Carol Lee Folsom: Minnesota
Carol Lee lost her sister to DV. She, her living sister and mother are all receiving shawls

What can I say? Except....
Thank You So Very Much. If it wasn't for you and all of your Silent Witness's Staff, our Sister Barb's Story would be forgotten along will the thousands of other Silent Witness Moms, Sisters, Aunts, Wives and Daughters. Sheila and Paul also went the extra 100's of miles so that they all would be remembered and hopefully no more will have to suffer and become Silent Witness's.

Barb's Favorite Color is Purple so the brown, green, purple acrylic and the white, green, purple acrylic would be the perfect Choice. I will let you choose which one for Patty and which one for me. I thought the White would be so nice for MoM because of White being for Angels.
I better stop now because the tears are welling up. Thank You again.

Frank B, Oregon
Frank lost his sister to DV

Hi Janet,

Thank you for your kind note and the prior SW emails. I enjoy being in the loop and on the road to more participation in the cause to stop domestic violence. The day after we met in Portland, there was a short article with my picture in the local paper. I am always amazed at how many people respond to me when I have been in the press, and how favorably they respond. It excites me to think that I can really make a difference, I know my sister is proud. I honesty can't wait to get going.

I would love a scarf! I haven't seen or heard of any in Portland yet. I think a red one would be appropriate for me, as it corresponds with the Silent Witness figures. Again, thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. I hope we meet again.

And when he received the scarf:
I received the scarf as you said, thank you!!! It brings me comfort for my loss and at the same time helps me feel a great resolve to work to stop domestic violence. As we talked earlier, I am excited to help in any way I can. I will be doing my research, gathering data, preparing talks, gathering ideas and will contact you for advice.

Please pass on my thanks for the scarf to its maker, Edrie Zweber, of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. "Ms. Zweber, you have given me a physical rememberance of my lost sister which I treasure and a symbol of my resolve to make a difference."

Pat Lupson and Warren Lupson: Maryland

Pat and Warren lost their daughter and two grandsons to DV

I know - I haven't let you know about my shawl. Warren and I have become real TV people over the last 9 years. I call it my brain dead time. Anyway, my beautiful Sheila shawl is right where I sit and when I get chilled - which has been often over the last weeks - I wrap it around my shoulders or legs. I instantly feel the warmth and love of the person that made it - along with all the women's memories that we are working so hard for people not to forget - and the "thank yous" of all the women that Silent Witness have saved over the past years. Most importantly - I feel closer to Gina - purple was her favorite color. I also know that I am wrapping myself in the love and support of Sheila and everything she did for all the Ginas in this world. Of course, there's one more "thank you" - that goes to you - the person that keeps Silent Witness on track - the person so focus on domestic violence - the person that never wants to hear another "Gina story" - I am blessed to have you in my life. Thank you Janet!

The wonderful green tie you sent to Warren has not made it to his neck - for I took it immediately and am wearing it as a neck scarf when I go outside. It's working great - and again I find myself feeling nearer to Gina. When it gets warmer I'll put tie in Warren's closet. Warren thought it was cool that the "guys" were thought of with this project!!

Two families will receive shawls:

One of them is a mother who lost a 12-year old son when her abusive ex-husband took revenge (this is the boy whose story was used in our fall campaign according to her mother's wish). There is a flyer in Hungarian with his picture on it at

The other people are an elderly couple, who lost their adult daughter when -- after several threats and unsuccessful earlier attempts -- her
husband strangled her. The couple has been fighting for the custody of their grandson or that they can at least live with their accorded visitation rights, which the guardians (a couple who are friends of the murderer!) do not allow.

Jane S and Julie M, Pennsylvania:
Jane lost her daughter to DV. We are also giving a shawl to Julie, the surviving daughter
As a result of our invitation about Sheila's Shawls in the last newsletter we got this note. (Summary of a longer note)

I am an attorney who practices in Pittsburgh, but grew up in the Harrisburg area. [I knew Diane Wallower Brenisholtz from high school]. I found out that she had divorced and then remarried ten years ago. I also found out that she lived in constant fear of her husband who was a controlling and abusive individual (and a handgun collector). Diane finally summoned the courage to leave him and was living with her mother, Jane S. I tried to help her by retaining an attorney for her in Harrisburg and giving her support. I also visited her in Harrisburg to make sure that she was secure and comfortable in her decision to end her marriage.

On July 17, 2001, I spoke to Diane by telephone and she told me that she was going to her home to speak to her husband because he had money to give her to make her mortgage payment. I pleaded with her not to return home, but to handle the matter by mail. Diane assured me that she felt she would be safe and that she was taking her mother with her. The following morning I learned that while her mother sat in her car in front of the house, Diane's husband shot her four times in the chest and then turned the gun on himself. Diane's death has obviously had a devastating effect on her mother, her two adult children and me. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her and know that I did too little to help her and assure her safety. Following her death I undertook to educate myself on the issue of domestic violence and resolved that I would, in some small way, try to make something positive grow from the seeds of despair.

I approached the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg with the idea of organizing a walk in Diane's honor to heighten awareness of domestic violence and raise funds for the YWCA's Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention Center. After more than a year of planning and hard work by a group of very dedicated friends and volunteers, Diane's Walk took place in Harrisburg on October 13, 2002. Judy Walter of the local Silent Witness chapter was kind enough to organize a display of seven silent witness statues and a new Silent Witness was dedicated in Diane's memory. The Walk received excellent media coverage in the Harrisburg area and raised approximately $12,000 for the YWCA. Plans are now underway to repeat the walk this year if sufficient corporate sponsorship can be found.

I continue to remain in close contact with Diane's mother and I know how much she continues to mourn the loss of her daughter and best friend. Over the last year, Jane's health has deteriorated and she seems to be moving into the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. When I read about the comfort shawls in the Silent Witness newsletter, I immediately thought of Jane. I am sure that she would deeply appreciate the gesture and would be gratified to know that there are many people that share her loss. I hope that this gives you some background on Diane and Jane and that it will be possible to provide Jane with a shawl. I know that this would mean a great deal to Jane and would bring her comfort. Your organization is a wonderful way to help all of us who have been touched by domestic violence to bring visibility to this issue. My best wishes to you in your continuing efforts. Sincerely, Jim H (Attorney and friend of the family).

Jan H (Hawaii) and Joyce H, Justine and Erica (Ohio):
Jan's sister was murdered and we are giving her, her mother and her sister's two daughters shawls, all the same color and yarn

This is the description of a woman who was killed by her husband but which has not been named a domestic homicide so we protect her identity: Anonymous woman lived in Ohio. She was killed at the age of 23 in front of four children (family members) who were at her home for a sleepover. After serving his time in prison, the estranged husband sought and received visitation rights to his stepchildren who are still upset by these visits.

And the woman's sister, upon hearing that she, her mother and the slain woman's two daughters would receive shawls write this: This shawl offer has to be the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us. I say us because I cried when I told my Mother on the phone after reading your letter. Please tell the Silent Witness coordinator to connect with me at her convenience and God Bless you for all you are doing.

When my sister was killed 27 years ago I was only 17. I am now 44. My family members are still trying to make some sense of it all. I am sorry to say some of them have turned to alcohol and caused further devastation. Myself, It has been a lifetime of healing. I am doing my best to encourage my family there is a reason for everything, even though sometimes we may have to look a little deeper at why we have come to learn these most valuable lessons. I must admit it still hurts today as I empathize with their pain. Thanks again and please let me know how I might assist with the movement.

Angie T, Wyoming
Angie lost her daughter to DV and we are giving her and her two granddaughters shawls

Angie T, and her two granddaughters will receive Sheila Shawls. She gives us a brief summary of her daughter, Kelly Serene Taylor's death in September of 2002:

I can only say that it was an emotionally abusive relationship. Her ex was extremely adept at making people think he was so kind & that
Kelley was worthless. No one in law enforcement went to talk to him about his threats on her life. They had been together for 4yrs when his incessant cheating & emotional abuse got too much for her finally. She got herself an apt & made the break but he was not accepting it at all. Her ex took her at gunpoint from her new apt., made her drive to the drill field, then shot her & turned the gun on himself.

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