Between 1990 and 2016, there were 51 women in Nova Scotia who lost their lives to violence at the hands of their intimate partners, forever silencing their voices. The time has come to end their silence.
Silent Witness Nova Scotia is a group of organizations and individuals working together to raise those voices. Our journey began in 2004 when individuals from across the province gathered to learn about the Silent Witness movement, and New Brunswick women who had been killed by their intimate partners.
We were so moved by their stories that a commitment was made to honour and remember our own Silent Witnesses in this way. Our vision became clear; we would strive to give voice to women of Nova Scotia silenced by domestic violence and commemorate their lives.
Life-sized, red, wooden silhouettes are created, each to represent a murdered woman. Each bears a shield engraved with a description provided by her family, of her as a woman who was also a beloved mother, friend, sister, daughter, co-worker, etc.
To create awareness and promote action, the Silent Witness silhouettes are an important part of the domestic violence presentations we present to schools, community colleges and universities across the province. Training sessions are also conducted for Department of Justice workers, law enforcement personnel, community social service providers as well as community groups.
Domestic Homicide in Canada
Between 1991 and 2010 in Canada, 1,249 women were victims of intimate partner homicide.
Although each woman has her own unique story, their deaths, together, reveal many common factors:
- Home is not a safe haven, nor is the workplace
- Occurs in all parts of the province, both urban and rural;
- In all ages, backgrounds and income levels;
- Occurs at all levels of intimate involvement;
- Ending a relationship does not end the risk of violence;
- Women leaving a violent relationship are often stalked;
- Younger women are more at risk of being killed by ex-partners;
- Women in common-law relationships are at a greater risk of family violence and murder;
- Drugs and alcohol can escalate the violence;
- Homes with firearms can be deadly for women;
- Previous history of domestic violence, past criminal record and mental illness are all risk factors.
Silent Witness Nova Scotia Vision and Goals
- To honour families and children who have lost mothers, daughters, sisters due to partner/spousal/common-law violence;
- To raise awareness in Nova Scotia about violence in our communities;
- To involve communities in responding proactively in ending violence;
- To continue this work until such time as there is no longer a need for Silent Witness Nova Scotia.