Advocacy Day 2020 Recap Report

Thank you to everyone who attended KCSDV’s 17th Annual Advocacy Day in the Kansas Statehouse and Capitol on February 12, 2020. It feels like such a long time ago now… However, we wanted to follow up and give you a recap of how the event went:

The annual event aims to increase the public’s awareness and knowledge of sexual and domestic violence and victim advocacy services available and provided in Kansas. About 3,000 supporters, partners, and members of the public were invited to attend. 27 KCSDV staff members, 3 volunteers, and many partners made the event possible. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas sponsored the Silent Witness event portion of the day.

Despite the unexpected snowstorm that brought several inches of snow to many different parts of the state, including Topeka, 17 of the 26 coalition member programs were able to travel to the capitol. The coalition member programs tabled on the first floor of the rotunda. Throughout the day, programs spent the day increasing awareness about sexual and domestic violence and the victim services.

Hundreds of lawmakers, supporters, and visitors attended the event and passed through the capitol space, having quality discussions and learning about the importance of sexual and domestic violence victim services. Some individuals and groups gathered for photos at the first ever KCSDV Advocacy Day photo booth. See 98 photos from the event on KCSDV’s Facebook page.

A Silent Witness Display Exhibition on the second floor of the rotunda opened in the morning and showed through the day. The installation consisted of 57 unique Silent Witness Displays, all lining the outside of the rotunda for an immersive and powerful experience. The silhouettes shown on the Silent Witness Displays symbolize Kansas women killed through sexual and domestic violence. The stories on the displays are real, true stories of Kansas women killed by perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence. One story can be read on each display. By showing these Silent Witness Displays, we honor these women, their lives, and their stories – as well as all other victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

These Silent Witnesses are people from cities and communities across the state. Friends, family, and sometimes former advocates attend to honor and mourn the loss of their acquaintances, friends, and loved ones. It is important to remember that each person’s story shown on the front of their display is just a tiny portion of their whole life story. Their death and the violence inflicted up on them does not define them – but it is important that we recognize them.

The speaking event, the Silent Witness Display Ceremony and Program, took place on the second floor of the rotunda and was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. Nearly 200 people came to the ceremony and program to honor these Kansas women and all victims and hear our three speakers on the subject:

    1. KCSDV Executive Director Joyce Grover welcomed the crowd. She introduced the Silent Witnesses and the day’s event. She spoke about KCSDV’s part in the collaborative Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project and the importance of awareness of the facts and statistics as they relate to the significance and pertinence of sexual and domestic violence.
    2. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) Manager of Community Relations Marlou Wegener spoke about BCBSKS’ support of sexual and domestic violence victim services work and the importance of it.
    3. And finally, the sitting and standing audience welcomed current City of Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla who gave a moving speech about the abuse she herself experienced. She challenged those attending to “change the narrative,” so that we all can offer the help to victims without any victim blaming and place accountability where it belongs, on the abuser.

Statistics prove that sexual and domestic violence impacts “Someone You Know,” the theme of the day.

Thank you to everyone who contributed, attended, and supported.

Newsletter (PDF)

This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-MU-AX-0021 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


Last Updated on Aug 27, 2020