Fly by night
The “Silent Witness” silhouettes have stood solemnly at various locations on campus starting Sept. 19 to illustrate the stories of 40 victims of abuse and bringing attention to the campus-wide effort to stop violence.
Brought to campus largely by the efforts of University of Idaho VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, the wood used to create the silhouettes was donated by UI Facilities and black paint donated by Inland Oasis. But these silhouettes were more than blocks of wood.
They represent the stories of victims whose lives were lost to domestic abuse.
Three of the silhouettes were stolen sometime between Sept. 21 and Monday afternoon. Two silhouettes and their stands were taken, one from in front of the library and the other by the entrance to the Teaching and Learning Center. The last silhouette was stolen from the Einstein’s entrance to the Idaho Commons, but its stand was left behind.
Domestic abuse is more than violent behavior. It can include wrecking someone’s emotional stability, the financial control of another and even psychological intimidation.
Nearly 74 percent of Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center. More than three women and one man are murdered in the U.S. by their intimate partner every day on average.
These silhouettes presented a hard truth to students — the truth that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, and it is often difficult to escape an abusive relationship or situation.
The silhouettes were intended to educate students and the community in an attempt to stop the cycle of violence, and stealing these silhouettes is a despicable continuation of the negativity and destruction of the cycle. Take Back the Night is an event put on by UI as a fight against domestic abuse and assault, not to be mocked by petty thieves who devalue the stories and symbolism presented by the Silent Witnesses.
What seems to be a harmless prank is a gross sign of disrespect for the message of the silhouettes and the victims whose stories they represent.
Creating a better campus community — a safer campus community — begins at the lowest level, the very foundation of involvement. Stealing these silhouettes is irresponsible behavior that has no objective or benefit to anyone, and should be realized as an absolute waste of time and energy. As students, we should all be coming together to foster a more wholesome community. As students, we should all be working together to take back the night.