In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the 2009 collection of the northwest Ohio chapter of the Silent Witness Project will be unveiled Oct. 5, the Women’s Center has announced. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Dayspring Assembly of God Church, 17360 N. Dixie Highway, Bowling Green.
The Silent Witness Project is a national initiative, founded in 1991 in Minneapolis, in response to an epidemic of domestic violence homicides. Since that time, local chapters have been founded in all 50 states. The BGSU Women’s Center founded the northwest Ohio chapter in 2001.
The 2009 collection includes 55 freestanding, life-sized wooden silhouettes, each one bearing the name and story of a girl or woman whose life ended violently at the hands of a husband, boyfriend or other intimate partner. All Silent Witnesses in the collection were from northwest Ohio. They represent victims ranging in age from 14 to 82, all of whom were murdered within the past decade.
During the unveiling, the silhouettes will be revealed one by one in a solemn ceremony. Each Silent Witness will be represented by a reader, who will recount the story of the girl or woman represented by that figure.
The unveiling also will include an address by keynote speaker Johanna Orozco. Orozco, a 20-year-old Cleveland woman, survived a shotgun blast to the face at the hands of her estranged boyfriend in 2007. Her painful story and miraculous recovery were recounted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s award-winning series, “Johanna: Facing Forward.”
Last year almost 400 people attended the Silent Witness Project unveiling. Many in attendance were family members or friends of the girls and women represented in the collection, who shared their powerfully painful experiences of losing daughters, mothers and sisters to domestic violence. Family members will be present again this year, and will be invited to speak during an open-microphone session at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Co-sponsors for the unveiling include, from BGSU, the Graduate Women’s Caucus, Institute for Child and Family Policy, Organization for Women’s Issues, School of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Women’s Studies Program. Also involved are numerous groups from Bowling Green and surrounding counties.