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Remembering the Lives Lost to Domestic Violence

Written by: The Women’s Center’s Staff

People often ask us about the purple figures displayed on our grounds in October. The history of these silhouettes is tied to a project called “Remember My Name” started by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and Ms. Magazine in 1994. The purpose of the project was to increase awareness of domestic violence deaths by keeping a national registry with the names of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. 

Over 25 years later, the NCADV, local domestic violence agencies, and individuals across the country continue to honor these lives through dedicated publications and memorials, most often shared during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (End Abuse Wisconsin track the homicides related to domestic violence for our state, and you can view the 2019 Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report here.)

Inspired by the Remember My Name project, The Women’s Center began to pay a special tribute to those that have lost their lives to domestic violence in Waukesha County by placing purple silhouettes on our grounds every October.

Each silhouette represents one victim, with their date of death printed across the chest of the figure.

The toll of domestic violence is sobering. We have 51 silhouettes, including 3 new silhouettes this year, representing the 51 lives that have been lost in Waukesha County since 1992.

To end domestic violence, we must come together and say: not one more! It begins by acknowledging and raising awareness of the realities of domestic violence in our community and making sure survivors are aware of available community resources.

Communities that do not provide healing services result in victims remaining longer in their violent homes and being at greater risk of life-threatening injuries. Emergency shelters like ours counter that risk by providing a secure place to stay, reducing survivors’ chances of homicide, on average, by 60%.

Your help to build awareness of domestic violence and its root causes is an important step that leads to earlier intervention, prevention, and ultimately, long-term societal change. Learn more about specific actions you can take this month and during National Week of Action here.

If you or someone you know has questions or needs help, call our 24-Hour Hotline at 262.542.3828.