by Migael Scherer
A group of men and women recently gathered inside the circle of red silhouettes on the Lopez Center lawn to commemorate the 49 men, women and children killed in Washington State as a result of domestic violence last year.
Each silhouette includes the person’s name and age, as well as the month and description of their death at the hands of a parent, partner, husband, ex-husband, or acquaintance. Ages range from a 92-year old woman shot by her boyfriend, to a 1-month old baby shaken to death by his mother. A total of six silhouettes are in the shape of toddlers. This powerful installation includes a poster describing the project, and a weatherproof journal for visitors to record their comments.
All are welcome to walk among the silhouettes and read their stories.
The Silent Witness Project is part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, promoting conversations about healthy relationships, with goals of awareness, education, hope and healing. Vigils will also be held Oct. 25 on San Juan Island, and Oct. 26 on Orcas.
This year’s Project on Lopez was organized by Trusanda Lyons, Community Advocate and School Prevention Coordinator for SAFE San Juans. Kimber Estey, Issac Berg and Valentino Tijerina helped installed the silhouettes. At the vigil Brian Estey read the poem “Pass On” by Michael Lee. Youth Center Manager and Stand Up Men Coordinator Issac Berg read each of the names.
Domestic violence takes many forms of power and control — verbal, emotional and physical. SAFE San Juans’ 24-hour help line on Lopez is 468-4567. In non-emergencies, advocate Trusanda Lyons can be reached at 468-3788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.