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Plywood cutouts at a Geneseo park represent people killed from domestic violence

The plywood cutouts include stories of people from the Quad Cities region that have been killed because of domestic violence.

GENESEO, Ill. — An organization is using plywood cutouts to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence in Illinois. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) 41.5% of Illinois women and 25.9% of Illinois men experience some sort of domestic violence in their lifetimes.  That could be intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking.

It's a growing problem and it's something Freedom House Illinois is trying to combat by raising awareness to its services. 

For decades Freedom House Illinois has used plywood cutouts to depict people in Illinois that have been killed due to domestic violence. They have been used to help form legislation in the state. They also travel around the state to go on display in home towns raising awareness to domestic violence.

"It's called the silent witness project," said Diana Whitney, board president for Freedom House Illinois.  It aims to "draw attention to the number of women and children that are killed by intimate partners and parents."

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner according to NCADV. Volunteers with Freedom House Illinois say putting up the plywood signs on Friday, hits close to home for them. 

"I had a sister that was abused," said Marshall Jones, who is a board member for Freedom House Illinois. "Generally when you're in a domestic violence situation, you don't go around advertising that it's happening to you... realize that there is help. There are people that are willing to stand up for you, and help you stand." 

Freedom House Illinois has a 24-hour hotline available: 800-474-6031

Freedom House Illinois offers housing, therapy, and legal advocacy for those in need at no charge.

The plywood cutouts will be on display for the entire month of October.

Learn more about Freedom House Illinois by clicking here.