Sunday, October 5, 2008
There are plenty of volunteer projects in Montana, just like on Cape Cod. So many things wouldn't happen without volunteers; so much would never be said, would never be shown, would never be understood. This past weekend, the Flathead Valley Business and Professional Women set up an art installation in the Kalispell Mall. First there had to be the approach to the mall, and the education of the mall manager as to what the intent of the display was. That took some time, but we were able to get the OK to set up the Montana Silent Witness display this past weekend in observation of Violence Awareness month. More info: http://www.mtsilentwitness.org/
Since 1990, more than 60 women have been killed in acts of domestic violence in Montana. There are similar movements in every state.
(Massachusetts also has a website dedicated to the goal of zero deaths by domestic violence by 2010. http://www.peaceathome.org/silentwitness.html )
Plywood shapes of each victim were erected, with the name and dates on their chests. I can't tell you how sad it is to walk through Kalispell Center Mall and read the details about each Witness. We will be taking the installation down on Tuesday morning so it can go on to another Montana mall, south of here by 100 miles.
This weekend, there was a Jazz Festival in Kalispell, with several events at the mall. Many high school kids, teachers, musicians, shoppers, and festival attendees were able to receive the message of the display: It's time to acknowledge the problem and work on community solutions.
Both my husband Jim and I participated in this project. Just reading the plaques is emotionally exhausting, but these victims beg to not be forgotten. There were at least four children also represented. Please take the time to honor October as violence awareness month. Domestic violence affects all levels of our societies. It's time to teach self-esteem in the school systems to the point where people realize that when they are in an unhealthy situation, they must leave it for their own safety. Such a hard lesson, and here we are- America.