Freedom House erects 15 silhouettes to raise awareness of deadly domestic violence
PRINCETON — For 12 days, 15 red, silent witness silhouettes will be displayed at Soldiers and Sailors Park in Princeton.
The silhouettes represent local women and children who died as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault.
The initiative is being put on through Freedom House at the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Amber Killian, domestic violence program manager, operations, hopes the silent witness initiative increases awareness that domestic violence is lethal, and it happens right here in our backyard.
Killian said she also hopes the project helps to build support of Freedom House, which provides emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“These silent witnesses tell a story, and their stories need to be shared and heard, or else they’ll be forgotten,” she said.
Each silhouette comes with a plaque that tells how a human life ended violently at the hands of a husband, ex-husband, partner or acquaintance.
Killian said this project is part of an initiative that originated in 1990 when an ad hoc group of women artists and writers, upset about the growing number of women in Minnesota being murdered by their partners or acquaintances, joined together with several other women organizations to form Arts Action Against Domestic Violence.
After much brainstorming, they decided to create 26 free-standing, life-sized red wooden figures that would share the stories of those murdered women.
Throughout the 1990s, the initiative grew to more than 800 witnesses being displayed across the United States.
Freedom House participated in the initiative in the 1990s and then in 2004, created its own Silent Witness Project to share the stories of women, children and babies who lived in Bureau, Henry, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties and lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.
Killian said families of the victims who wish for their loved one’s story to be shared can have a silhouette made through Freedom House in their honor, which will be added to the Silent Witness Project.
Throughout the month of October, Freedom House will be participating in various activities to help raise awareness of domestic violence.
• On Oct. 5, the Kewanee High School football team will be playing Princeton High School for its homecoming game. Players will be encouraged to wear purple socks and cheerleaders will wear purple ribbons to show support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
• On Oct. 11, Freedom House will host a lunch and learn for local pastors and clergy to share education on victim advocacy.
• Freedom House will also be encouraging local businesses and residents to display purple light bulbs, which is the color used to show support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.