Category Archives: General

New Silent Witness website is live!


We’re extremely proud to announce that our new and improved website is now LIVE!  Lots more information, statistics and events are listed.  We hope you’ll take a look and let us know what you think! 

Now Available Online, the Final Installment of The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project Published In Volume 4, Number 2, 2013


Chicago Tribune Silent Witness story

candle holder small pic

Here’s the link to a great article about a Silent Witness project in Chicago. Powerful words, powerful image…our work continues.,0,3984940.column?dssReturn

Great college resource

It was recently brought to my attention from a Board member that there’s a wonderful program in Canada that’s working to end domestic violence + sexual assault on college campuses.  The posters are so incredibly powerful!  Check out this campaign at .  Impressive!

Still doing the work…

ImageI was going through old photos the other day and came across an entire folder of photos I’ve taken over the past 15 years that I’ve been working with the Silent Witness project.  Fifteen years.

So many silent vigils, so many marches through the streets, so many sessions sitting with parents and holding their hands, so many interviews with television stations.  When does it all end?

I know that many people who’ve been involved with the Silent Witness project in their communities have come and gone, sharing their time and energy and creating programs and events to honor the women, men and children in their towns that have been murdered in acts of domestic violence.  So much time and effort are put into bringing awareness about our Witnesses stories and working to end the violence.  Time, money, energy, patience, tears, healing….

And still, the reason I have stayed connected with the project, is because I know for those families and friends of our Witnesses, it never ends.  It changes, it shifts, it moves…but it never ends.

As a survivor of domestic violence, I have found that working with the Silent Witness Initiative has been the most healing work I’ve ever done.  Having the opportunity to share time with my community and continuing to work to end the violence has allowed me to heal many of my own wounds, and I hope that along the way I’ve been able to help others in their journeys.

Someday I hope to never have to make another red silhouette.  But I know until that day, I’ll continue to sit in the pews of churches, on couches in living rooms, at conference tables in libraries….and hold the hands of my Witness’s families, feed them tissue as they tell me their stories, and share their grief…and their healing.

It’s why I’m still here after 15 years…

Poem – Tell Us Again

Tell us again

(written by a member of Beaumont Hospital’s Domestic Violence Committee)

Tell us again, as you stand so tall…
In scarlet red, sound the battle call.
Cry from the city, cry from the town,
Cry from the quite countryside round.
Remind us, behind those curtains drawn…
Beyond that perfectly manicured lawn,
When someone comes home, terror arrives…
Those they should love fear for their lives.

Some little ones, coming home from school
Are beaten with words that are brutal and cruel.

Some receive bruises from blow after blow,
Hidden by clothing so others won’t know.

Some children sadly are dreading the night,
Clutching their pillow, they hear parents fight.

Secrets they live with…secrets they fear,
Secrets unknown by everyone near.

Secrets they carry to church, to the store…
Secrets that might be living next door.

For these figure standing…these figures in red,
These secrets tell us, why they re dead.

These figures one wore fine clothes and a smile,
Hand in hand, one bright day, they walked down the aisle,
These figures once may have played in a park,
Their bright, sunny days were then lost to the dark.

These figures were someone’s child, someone’s mother,
Someone’s husband or wife, someone’s sister or brother.
They didn’t deserve to die by violence or strife,
At the hands of one with whom they trusted their life.

Their love made them vulnerable…they hoped for the best,
Many new starts to their story, these figures now tell the rest.

All their dreams…they have vanished; Their hopes…disappeared…
Their walk with us ended in a way they always feared.

Now silent, they stand, as witness for all,
In scarlet, among us, they silently call…
Who will dare to listen, who will dare to hear…
The cries of the wounded who are living in fear?

Who’ll fight for the broken, who will help show the way,
For those in the darkness to find their new day?

In your comfort at home, in your own family’s love…
Remember the hurting ones, God sees from above.

Pray for their safety…for calm, for release,
Continue the cause until all live in peace.

Poem – Throat, Knife, Words

Throat, Knife, Words 
Jill Breckenridge 

I couldn’t cry the day my mother died.
She was shy, never good with words.

She thought that vodka made her droll.
She stored her bottles with the toilet paper.

She stuffed and zipped them into winter boots.
She hid them under Idaho potatoes.

My father drank martinis from a pitcher.
He floated olives in them, little ice.

My mother ran her car into the streetlight.
My father ran his fist into her face.

At six, I knew that secrets saved your life.
I hid the butcher knife beneath the sheets.

My heart gave back our nightmare in the light:
He strangled her against my cowboy spread.

His hands around her neck, her face turned blue.
I meant to run the knife between his ribs.

He heard me yell, I’m going to kill you, Daddy!
My father knocked the knife out of my hand.

Slumping to the floor, he sobbed till dawn.
He never hit her in the face again.

The day she died, she put her make-up on.
I wanted us to say what was unsaid.

Cancer of the throat, she couldn’t speak.
We never found the words to make it right.

(Jill wants you to know that this poem is written in iambic pentameter for
those of you who are poetry aficionados! And it is autobiographical. This
poem will be included in her new book of poems, The Gravity of Flesh.)