Unveiling, national speaker to mark Silent Witness commemoration

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Center will host the unveiling of the 2014 collection of the northwest Ohio chapter of the Silent Witness Project.

The free event will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. This year marks the return of the unveiling to BGSU for the first time in 10 years, noted Women’s Center Director Mary Krueger. The evening also will include an address by keynote speaker Ulester Douglas of Men Stopping Violence, a national training institute that provides organizations, communities and individuals the knowledge and tools required to mobilize men to prevent violence against women and girls.

The Silent Witness Project is a national initiative, founded in 1990 in Minnesota in response to an epidemic of domestic violence homicides. There now are local Silent Witness Project chapters in all 50 states. The BGSU Women’s Center founded the northwest Ohio chapter in 2001, which has since become one of the largest chapters in the United States.

The 2014 collection includes 71 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, dating partner or stalker. All Silent Witnesses in the collection were from northwest Ohio and all were murdered within the past decade.

During the ceremony, the silhouettes will be revealed one by one in a solemn ceremony.  Each Silent Witness will be represented by an individual reader, who will recount the story of the girl or woman represented by that figure.

In his capacity as executive director Men Stopping Violence, Douglas has provided consultation, training and keynote presentations in 40 states, Europe and the Caribbean to community-based organizations, universities, corporations and government agencies. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. delegation at The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women Summit in Washington, D.C., in 2010, and has served on the board of directors of several national organizations addressing violence against women. Douglas has authored/co-authored numerous articles and curricula on family violence and other human rights issues and recently appeared on CNN.

The unveiling is co-sponsored by nearly 40 BGSU, University of Toledo and community offices and organizations from Wood, Lucas, Hancock, Henry, Ottawa, Defiance, Erie and Allen counties.