This is really sad and grotesque: a domestic violence memorial in Wisconsin has been vandalized. And we’re not just talking spray paint. The memorial is outside of a women’s center, which provides services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. It consists of 21 silhouette figures that represent the women and one man who have been killed in the county by a domestic partner since 1992 (there are no names, only date of murder). And whoever decided to vandalize the memorial destroyed two figures by breaking them into pieces.
A Women’s Center display honoring those killed by domestic violence in Waukesha County and raising awareness about domestic abuse was itself the target of violence over the weekend when someone damaged two wooden silhouettes of women.
“I don’t know if this is some horrible prank” or worse, said Mary Hennis, the director of counseling services for the Women’s Center.
The worst part, Hennis said, is that someone might have been trying to frighten women at the center, or “re-victimize” the families of those killed in domestic violence incidents.
. . . Hennis said the center has erected the “silent witness” display each year for the last six or seven years as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
The center also puts up a display of teal ribbons in April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, she said.
This is the first time either of the displays has been vandalized, Hennis said.
“I think it’s really disrespectful. It shows that people don’t understand the seriousness of domestic violence,” Hennis said. “These are women who for their lifetimes were fighting for their lives and the end result is that they died at the hands of someone who was supposed to love and respect them.”
“It’s like defacing a gravestone,” she said of the damage.
I sincerely hope that whoever did this was just some kind of ignorant ass who likes to break things and didn’t understand what he was defacing. But it’s hard to believe that there wasn’t a more malicious intent behind it. We can hope, though, that the perpetrator is just acting on general misogynist impulses and not attacking a particular display as a method of intimidation to a particular victim’s family, or trying to actively threaten any of the women that the center.
A picture of the damage is after the jump.