Domestic Violence victims to be honored at silent witness project unveiling

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Center has announced the unveiling of the 2015 collection of the northwest Ohio chapter of the Silent Witness Project.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the McCord Road Christian Church, 4765 McCord Road, in Sylvania. It is free and open to the public; however, due to the intense nature of the program, it is not appropriate for young children.

The 2015 Silent Witness collection includes 63 freestanding, life-sized wooden silhouettes, each 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 unveiling 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.

The evening will include an address by keynote speaker Olga Phoenix, an internationally recognized expert on vicarious trauma. Through her writings and trainings, Phoenix has helped thousands of victim advocates and others who work professionally with victims address their vicarious trauma and find their way to full and peaceful lives.

In this presentation, she will take the brave step of interweaving her professional expertise with her own experience as the daughter of a domestic violence murder victim.

“Her powerful, first-person account of a woman whose struggle to remember and honor one who was lost — without losing herself — reflects the very heart of the Silent Witness Project’s work and mission,” said Dr. Mary Krueger, director of the BGSU Women’s Center

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, and it has since become one of the largest chapters in the U.S. Sylvania Area Family Services is the co-sponsor and event partner for this year’s ceremony.

Friends and allies for the 2015 Unveiling ceremony include 35 BGSU, University of Toledo and regional community organizations.