In 1990, a group of women artists and writers, upset about the growing number of women in Minnesota being murdered by their partners or acquaintances, joined together with several other women's organizations to form Arts against Domestic Violence.
They felt an urgency to do something that would speak out against the escalating domestic violence in their state, something that would ultimately commemorate the lives of the 26 women who lost their lives in 1990 as a result of domestic violence.
After a tremendous amount of brainstorming, they decided to create 26 life-sized red wooden figures carved in the resemblance of the victim. Each one would bear the name and story of the woman whose life was ended that year by domestic violence. A twenty-seventh figure was added to represent the uncounted women whose murders were not identified as being victims of domestic violence and who were erroneously ruled as accidental deaths.
The organizers decided to call these figures The Silent Witness. And the Silent Witness Program was born.
As of today, all 50 states plus 20 other countries participate in the Silent Witness program and annual remembrance ceremony. Now, these figures not only represent the women, but also the men and children who have also lost their lives to domestic violence.
Beaumont Hospital has participated in the Silent Witness Program since 2001.
An annual ceremony is held each Fall to provide education about Domestic Violence and to remember those who were victims of Domestic Violence during that year.
Following this annual Silent Witness ceremony, there is a hospital-wide collection for domestic violence shelters in the surrounding area. In addition, Beaumont's Silent Witness figures are often loaned out to community agencies who want to provide education and increase awareness about domestic violence.
Throughout the year, cell phone donations are collected at the hospital and then given to area shelters for the victims of domestic violence.