‘Silent witnesses’ silhouettes highlight domestic violence awareness By Tori P. Haynesworth For The Chronicle

‘Silent witnesses’  silhouettes highlight  domestic violence  awareness  By Tori P. Haynesworth For The Chronicle
October 08
00:00 2015

By Tori P. Haynesworth

For The Chronicle

City officials, Winston-Salem Police Department officials and Family Services of Forsyth County held a candlelight vigil, promoting Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Thursday, Oct. 1 at City Hall in downtown Winston-Salem on 101 N. Main St.

Family members of domestic violence victims were present at this event to witness the unveiling of the “silent witnesses” silhouettes.

Kathryn Mobley, WSTV Digital Media producer, marketing and communications, was the moderator. She shared a story of someone she interviewed, who was a victim.

“Domestic violence doesn’t just hurt the people who are targeted,” said Mobley. “It shatters families, it leaves loved ones and friends feeling helpless, and it tears apart communities.”

Mayor Allen Joines read a proclamation declaring October Domestic Violence

Awareness Month, and what the community and officials will do to recognize the situations and actions that will be lawfully taken.

“According the Center for Disease Control, nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current, or former spouse or partner at some point in her life,” said Joines. “The city of Winston-Salem is committed to take a firm position against domestic violence, and will remain focused on ensuring all people are safe in their homes, and that abusers are held accountable for their crimes.”

Police Captain Catrina Thompson named all of the local media and businesses that will help support the cause and get the word out about domestic abuse. The Chronicle is one of the media representatives that is helping.

The WSPD has a vehicle designed with a photo and “Domestic Violence is never okay” written on the sides of it, along with a contact number.

“We are very excited and we ask that you celebrate, mourn and connect with us as we roll out these initiatives,” said Thompson.

There will be purple lights that will light up at local businesses representing domestic abuse awareness. The audience got to see a commercial by FOX 8 news of families of the victims speaking out about domestic violence. The video will be shown all month long.

Lt. Eric Montgomery presented the unveiling of the silent witnesses silhouettes. The silent witnesses began in 1990 by a group of women in Minnesota called Arts Action Against Domestic Violence, who became so outraged by the spread of domestic abuse that they created 26 life-sized wooden figures with the victim’s names on each one of them. Karen Watson, Forensic Services Division Supervisor at the WSPD was the one who created the silhouette figures revealed at the vigil. Each of the silhouettes that was recognized by Montgomery was sponsored by local businesses or nonprofit organizations. The Chronicle sponsored one of them.

“Each one of our sponsors who were just recognized opened their wallets, they opened their hearts and provided financial support. With your financial support, I’m sure that someone will find the help they need, someone’s life will be getting better, and also someone’s life will be saved,” said Police Chief Barry Rountree.

Rountree presented a $2,744 donation to Family Services of Forsyth County from the Winston-Salem Police Department. Bob Feikma, president of Family Services, retrieved it and made several remarks.

“It’s a tremendous impact to see among us what happens with domestic violence in our community,” said Feikema. “It’s a powerful statement, and it helps us all bear witness to what has happened in our community, and to resolve that it will not happen again.”

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Scovens, Police Department chaplain, recited a prayer, and asked everyone to remember the lives taken from the shooting that happened at Umpqua Community College in Rosenburg, Oregon.

The candlelight vigil took place and names were called out of victims that suffered domestic violence over the past 20 years, including the ones that were recognized at the event. After the vigil, family members and friends of the victims personally viewed the silhouettes and took photos, while others were very emotional and shed tears.

For more information or how to get involved, contact Family Services of Forsyth County at 336-722-8173 or visit To learn more about Silent Witnesses, visit

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