You may have noticed the silhouetted figures placed around Wallace State Community College and in local communities over the last month.
The single and grouped displays each have statistics on them in regards to domestic violence or sexual assault, and each could just as easily represent the person sitting next to you in class or standing in line at the grocery store.
These silent witnesses are on campus and in other locations in the county as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and were placed by Victim Services of Cullman County.
“October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we wanted something that would grab people’s attention,” Donna Jacobs, director of the local program that aids victims of domestic violence, said of the annual display.
“Each has a story or a statistic and they stand there silently, telling people about domestic violence,” Jacobs said of the silhouettes.
Jacobs classifies domestic violence as terrorism. “If you don’t want to go home and are afraid of what will happen when you do, I call that terrorism,” she said. While many people may like to think domestic violence isn’t prevalent in our community, Jacobs said it is all around us.
“We like to wear blinders,” she said. “We’re blessed to live in a community as wonderful as ours and we like to think we don’t have horrible, terrorist-type things going on, but we do.”
And we are all victims of it in some way, Jacobs added. “What happens to my next door neighbor affects me,” she said. “Those children who stay up all night because their mother — because normally it’s their mother who is being terrorized — are sitting next to your children in school.” Jacobs hopes the silent witnesses around the community will make people realize how prevalent domestic violence is, and that they will provide inspiration in helping to prevent abuse and to help victims. “Stop and think for a moment about what’s going on in our own county,” she said. “Domestic violence knows no boundaries.”