October 24, 2012

Silent Witness project honors those who dealt with abuse

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Dayglo red cutouts of women, men, children and baby carriages stood on the lawn of the Women's Services and Family Resource Center.

These vivid, highly visible reminders of the extreme end result of domestic violence are intended to get attention.

The Silent Witness Project uses the cutouts to represent Oklahoman victims of homicide by domestic violence.

The project highlights that anyone can become a victim.

On each cutout, the name of the victim as well as what happened to him or her is on a yellow shield. In some cases, the person who murdered them went unpunished.

The victims range in ages from three months to 77 years of age. Both women and men are represented.

The project originated in 1990 and grew to be a statewide display in the state of Oklahoma, according to Carey Burton.

Oklahoma is ranked 17 nationwide for women murdered by men in single offender homicides. This number is down from last year, when Oklahoma ranked 11. A few years before that, Oklahoma ranked as number four, Malinda Treadaway said.

"It's still too many."

The numerous cutouts on the lawn of the center are not even close to the number of Oklahoman homicide victims of domestic violence, Treadaway said.

"We didn't have room."

Treadaway said she hopes residents will see the cutouts and know that each one represents a person's life ended by domestic violence.

"We're trying to get it out in our community that these men, women and children lost their lives."

Between 2001 and 2011, 13 people in Grady County lost their lives to domestic violence.

To contact the Women's Services and Family Resource Center hotline, call 1.405.222.1818.