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Dozens of silhouettes on display to honor NW Ohio women who were victims of domestic violence

Sharing the stories of local women who lost their lives to domestic violence. That's the goal of the Northwest Ohio Silent Witness Project.

TOLEDO, Ohio — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Bethany House is kicking it off strong with a powerful message: unveiling 51 life-size silhouettes remembering local women whose lives were tragically cut short.

The Bethany House hosts the Silent Witness Project because they want the public to remember those women in our community who were victims of domestic violence and who lost their lives early at the hands of a partner or stalker over the past 10 years.

The beginning of the Northwest Ohio Silent Witness Project began back in 2001 when BGSU student Michelle Rizzi was killed by her husband. Since then, more than 100 life-size silhouettes have been displayed throughout our community, bearing the name and story of a girl or woman whose life was ended violently.

The coordinator of the project, Anna Turner, said they gather information from community sources then try to connect with friends and families of the victims, so they're the ones who have the last say on the stories that are shared with the silent witness. She explained, it's about showing people that there is hope and life after abuse.

"It's so easy to sweep these stories under the rug, to see the big splash of news that comes - and we're all shocked - when these murders occur," said turner. "We have to keep bringing them out."

Turner explained even though it might be uncomfortable to hear these stories and bring them back out to the public year after year, it's more important that it never stops. 

"The silent witnesses are very moving," she said. "They can be shocking and they do inspire people to take action. We don't share the stories for the shock value alone. We have a purpose in sharing these stories."

There is an official ceremony taking place on Monday, Oct. 3 at the Main Library beginning at 6 p.m.

The event is free to the public but organizers ask that you don't bring young children because of how graphic some of the stories are.

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