Charlotte Richter | Staff Writer
Six tall banners with blue silhouettes stand next to each other near the eye-line of incoming customers at the Post Exchange. Each banner depicts the fatality of a real domestic violence or sexual assault victim complete with a name, age and location, as well as the number for the domestic violence hotline. The “Silent Witness” banners are a feature of this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month hosted by Army Community Service and the Family Advocacy Program.
The “Silent Witness” display was created by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Tricia Green, FAP victim advocate, said she wanted to bring the exhibit to Fort Leavenworth after feeling its impact.“They’re speaking from a place only the individual can speak from; I think that’s important to hear,” Green said.ACS and FAP worked with KCSDV to select six stories from a larger exhibit typically displayed during an event at the Kansas Capitol Building in Topeka. Green said that KCSDV tailors the display to each location, so the “Silent Witness” display on post represents four local cases, including one that happened in Leavenworth County.
One of the banners has two silhouettes, representing 30-year-old Erin and her 3-year-old daughter Mazey of Douglas County. It reads: “Erin was known for her caring and loving personality, and her daughter Mazey was growing up to be just like her. During a parental exchange of Mazey, Erin was kidnapped and shot multiple times by Mazey’s father. He then drove Mazey to another location where he shot and killed her, and then shot himself. He had a history of controlling and emotionally abusive behavior, but had not physically abused her before.”
Green said she wants the community to be aware of domestic violence and the possibility of escalation. She also wants people to act on opportunities to support someone they know who may be a victim.
“This is only a very small sampling of what occurs daily, yearly…I think so many times we’re isolated from that (domestic violence) because our lives may not look like that,” Green said.
The “Silent Witness” display will move from the PX to Munson Army Health Center Oct. 18, then to Gruber Fitness Center through the end of October