In 1990, a group of volunteers, upset about the growing number of women in Minnesota murdered by their partners felt an urgency to do something to honor the lives of 26 women whose had died in 1990 because of domestic violence.

They decided to create 26 free standing, life sized red wooden figures, each one bearing the name of a woman who once lived, worked in the community and whose life ended violently at the hands of her partner. A 27th figure was added to represent women whose murders went uncounted or unsolved. These wooden figures are called Silent Witnesses. To date all 50 states and 23 countries are participating.

In 1995, Shirley Erhart, CISS advocate and board member initiated the “Silent Witness Exhibit” for the South Dakota Coalition Ending  Domestic & Sexual Violence. Witnesses are red because it is the color of our life’s blood, the one way in which we are all united… no matter our race, creed or culture. The shields (their story) are placed over the heart --- our life’s rhythm.

Many men and women die each year in acts of domestic violence in the United States.  Each one has a story.  We need to remember their stories. We need to remember their names.

The Silent Witnesses bring meaning to these lives lost. You can be a voice for them. Join us to take action to create safety and peace in the world.


Let’s put an end to domestic and sexual violence.

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