The Jackson County Courthouse hosted a Silent Witness Display on Thursday, Oct. 10, as a memorial for honoring individuals who were murdered through an act of domestic violence. The Oklahoma Silent Witness Initiative travels throughout out the state to display red silhouettes representing those who died from domestic violence, ages 3 months to 77 years of age. There were 53 active Silent Witness on display from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., each telling there own tragic story printed out on a yellow card. Three displays were silhouettes of baby cribs. The youngest baby, Patience, died in her mothers womb at 16 weeks old when her and her mom died from homicide.
Associate Executive Director of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Sunshine Gross, travels all across Oklahoma through the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to set up the Silent Witness Display.
According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation 47 murders, 680 sex crimes, 2,542 assaults, and 20,972 assault and battery cases have been reported in 2011, and domestic abuse reports have decreased only by 3.6 percent. Even more startling, Oklahoma jumped from being ranked 17th to 3rd in the nation for women murdered by men in single victim/single offender homicides, in just one year.
ACMI House Lori Sherman was also at the silent display to educate those who stopped in to the courthouse. There will be a Candle Light Vigil at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, where she and others will speak out against domestic violence. There will also be a “Stand Against Violence” 5K walk/run at 6 p.m. on Friday Oct. 25 at the City reservoir.
The mission of ACMI House is to provide services to victims (both primary and secondary) of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and for their children, and to educate the community on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking issues.
Anyone who wishes to host a Silent Witness display, or to have one made for a loved one, can contact Sunshine Gross at (405) 524-0700.
For more information and education on domestic violence, call the ACMI House at (580) 482-3800.