The Duncan Banner

Local News

October 11, 2012

Silent Witness event fosters domestic violence awareness

DUNCAN — There have been more than 60 domestic violence related deaths in Oklahoma this year and one way local United Way agency Women’s Haven tries to create awareness is through the Silent Witness Initiative.

This is a project that began in 1990 by a group of women in Minnesota that soon grew and is now country wide.

Silent Witness is brought to Duncan every October as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Not only spreads the word on these senseless killings, but also serves as a memorial honoring those whose lives were lost in relation to domestic violence.

“There are about 50 silhouettes that represent victims, from infants to the elderly,” said Penny Gardner, director of education at Women’s Haven. “These killings don’t make sense and there are no rhyme or reason to them, no matter what the situation.”

In previous years, they have set up the display in Fuqua Park, however, this year it was moved to Memorial Park.

The 50 or so red life-size silhouettes each represent a person and have that individual’s story printed on the shape.

Memorial Park offers a wider space for the silhouettes and Garder said they hope they are more visible to the public.

If so, the move to Memorial Park may become permanent.

“We hope people will stop and read the stories,” Gardner said.

A few volunteers were out helping Gardner set up the scene, along with Rachele Eskridge, special projects coordinator for the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and her three young sons. Eskridge said her children are much aware of what the silhouettes represent.

“They have been going with me for this ever since I started and they know all the stories,” she said. “They take it seriously.”

None of this year’s silhouette stories are from Stephens County due to the fact that it has been several years since the last known domestic violence death occurred in the county and even the most recent one doesn’t have permission to be shared.

One of this year’s volunteers for the project was Carol Zachary, who has been volunteering for Women’s Haven less than a year.

“(Women’s Haven) is always doing something wonderful,” she said. “This is a worthwhile thing because most people just go on with their lives and don’t think about this.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bench found competent, trial to start Monday

    A jury took 50 minutes on Thursday to find Miles Sterling Bench competent to stand trial for first-degree murder  and District Judge Joe Enos scheduled the trial to begin Monday.
    Bench, 23, of, Velma, is accused of the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry of Velma. She was killed in June 2012 in the Teepee Totem convenience store in Velma where Bench was employed.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 Miller and Decathlon 0016.jpg Miller pumps up decathlon students

    Dr. Ché Miller, who helped bridge a funding gap needed to send the Duncan High School Decathlon Team to the national competition in Hawaii, gave the team a pep talk on Thursday.
    Miller, recently recognized as the Man of the Year by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the students they are about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and advised them to absorb as much of the experience as they can.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Churches prepare for Easter Sunday

    Churches throughout Duncan and Stephens County are preparing to celebrate Easter this Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
    Today is known as Good Friday to mark the day Christ was crucified on a cross.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 lauren-ellis mug.jpg Ellis named new CEO of regional United Way

    Lauren Ellis, who’s led the United Way of Stephens County for more than two years, has been named the new chief executive officer of the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
    Her new job will be based in Lawton but Ellis said she will remain in Duncan and commute.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jurors to decide Bench competency issue today

    Jurors will hear final arguments on Thursday and then be asked to determine whether  23-year-old Miles Sterling Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry nearly two years ago.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-17 Decathlon Team1 0127.jpg DHS Decathlon Teams prepares

    Not every high school student gets an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the 10 team members of the Duncan High School Decathlon Team.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baseball tourney to be held in Wiles' memory

    The Duncan Middle School baseball team will hold a tournament in memory of the late Alyssa Wiles.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corporon memorial planned for Friday in Marlow

    A candlelight vigil for Dr. William Corporon and his grandson Reat Underwood will be held at Marlow High School at 8 p.m. Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gay recuses himself from Morales trial

    Associate District Judge Dennis Gay on Wednesday disqualified himself from the trial of Dr. Oscar Morales Jr.

    April 17, 2014

  • Psychologists disagree on Bench’s mental competency

    Two psychologists on Tuesday offered differing opinions  about the mental competency of Miles Sterling Bench to stand trial for first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Braylee Henry.
    Bench, dressed in a dark blue suit, sat through a second day of court proceedings that will determine if the case against him goes to trial. The state is seeking the death penalty.

    April 16, 2014