CHURCHVILLE, Md. - Along Route 22 in Churchville they stand every year; plywood cutouts of men, women and children, all with plaques that tell the story of their death by domestic violence.
"Every year when we start putting them up, it's just putting those silhouettes up and seeing the stories of those people’s lives and how they ended. It is very, very powerful."
Reverend Lisa Ward runs the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Harford County.
The church puts up the silent witness display every October for domestic violence awareness month, marking the Harford County lives lost to domestic violence.
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It is a powerful scene that often draws the right kind of attention but last weekend violence struck hard once again.
"Sadness, and then really when we were trying to fix them again and put the statues up, just a feeling of the violence of trying to destroy the display, it was just prevalent," said Ward.
It is a painful irony, subjecting the memory to the same kind of violence that originally took these lives, their stories once again beaten and broken.
"The thought that the vandalism did something to destroy something that had such a positive message that church was reaching out to the community with is something we are looking into seriously," said Harford County Sheriff’s Spokesperson Monica Worrell.
But in reality, the Harford County Sheriff's Office has little to no physical evidence of who vandalized the display and needs to rely on tips.
The hope is that whoever did it didn't understand exactly what they were defacing, but the profiles, plaques and painful stories are hard to miss.
It is a profound and powerful message witness to violence once again.
"It just added to the witness of these silhouettes who have already been killed. Now they are witness to violence that can occur even from news of their death. So it really was a double edged violence," said Ward.
The church says it has fixed most of the damage.
It will continue to put up the display every year which we're told does draw the family members of the victims.
If you have any information as to who vandalized the display, call the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
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