2016 Silent Witness unveiling marked for Oct. 4

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the BGSU Women’s Center has announced the unveiling of the 2016 collection of the northwest Ohio chapter of the Silent Witness Project. The evening will include an address by keynote speaker Paula Walters, a certified paramedic, domestic violence survivor and founder of Standing Courageous, Inc.

Walters will share her personal story and honor the family and friends of local domestic violence victims who did not survive. She also will invite audience members to join her effort to convince legislators of the need for a Violence Offender Registry, which would allow citizens to be informed about those who are habitually dangerous to others.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Parkway Place, 2500 Parkway Plaza in Maumee. It is free and open to the public; however, due to the intense nature of the program, organizers ask that those in attendance do not bring young children.

The 2016 Silent Witness Project collection includes 62 free-standing, 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 unveiling, 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 Silent Witness Project is a national initiative, founded in 1990 in Minnesota, in response to an epidemic of domestic violence homicides. There are local Silent Witness Project chapters in all 50 states. The BGSU Women’s Center founded the northwest Ohio chapter in 2001, and it is now one of the largest chapters in the United States.    

Friends and allies for the 2016 Unveiling ceremony include, from BGSU, FORCE, the Graduate Women’s Caucus, the Police Department, Queens of Color, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, along with the AAUW (Bowling Green branch), Not In Our Town (Bowling Green), and about 25 other agencies and organizations from northwest Ohio and the University of Toledo.