The Duncan Banner
Red silhouettes stand silently throughout Fuqua Park East. Although the cutouts don’t have mouths, they say more with silence than in the words printed on their chests.
Women’s Haven brought the Silent Witness program back to Fuqua Park as a remembrance that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Silent Witness program places silhouettes, representing people who have died because of domestic violence, in the park to share stories with the Stephens County community.
“One in four women will be abused in her lifetime,” Penny Gardner, director of education at Women’s Haven, said. “Every three seconds, there’s a woman abused in our country.”
The Silent Witness program originated in 1990, in Minnesota, to raise awareness of domestic violence. The program has a number of victims represented, ranging in age from 3 months to 77 years.
The State of Oklahoma has 52 silhouettes that travel around the state. Although Women’s Haven put up several, Gardner and other Women’s Haven workers and advocates were reluctant to put up all of the silhouettes brought to Stephens County this year.
“Because of the threat of rain, we couldn’t put up the entire display,” Gardner said. “If it rains, we have to take them down immediately.”
The silhouettes set up in Fuqua Park tell the stories of what happened to people caught in the crossfire of domestic violence, women and their children murdered as a result of domestic violence and infants killed because of domestic violence.
Gardner said she wants people to be better informed about domestic violence. And with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, she hopes people will wear purple in support of the victims of domestic violence. Today is actually Wear Purple Day in Oklahoma.
She said there are plenty of victims of domestic violence in Stephens County. Women’s Haven helps people throughout the year.
“Women’s Haven served nearly 200 men, women and children in the last year,” Gardner said.