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Silhouettes in downtown Eau Claire bring awareness to Marsy’s Law of Wisconsin

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - At the intersection of Barstow Street and Gibson Street in downtown Eau Claire, eight red silhouettes can be found sitting on all four corners. The goal of these silhouettes is to raise awareness of Marsy’s Law of Wisconsin.

Outreach Director for Mary’s Law of Wisconsin, Nela Kalpic, says the law was passed in Wisconsin in 2020 adding rights to victims of crimes.

“Our goal is to educate the community on what their rights are if they should find themselves in a position of being a victim of a crime,” Kalpic said.

Marsy’s Law of Wisconsin adds and updates Wisconsin’s 1993 victims’ rights constitutional amendment. Legal advocate for Bolton Refuge House, Bronson Stein, also believes it is important for the community to know and understand what Marsy’s Law of Wisconsin is.

“It’s important for people to know this law specifically elevates those rights that a victim has in Wisconsin to a state of a constitutional amendment,” Stein said. “Meaning that victims rights are now on par with offenders rights.”

The eight silhouettes were made by Stein and come in shapes that represent all ages. He is a second-generation victim’s advocate, following in his mothers footsteps. Stein has been ingulfed in the field of helping people his entire life and remembered all the times silhouettes were used to represent victims. He chose the color red instead of the traditional black silhouette because he believes red symbolizes victims rights and makes it more visible to those passing by.

“You drive down the street and you see the victim, that was the intent with the color,” Stein said. “To symbolize the awareness issue behind this, that might think about as a victim and just encourage the dialogue to go forward.”

The silhouettes were placed on Thursday and Friday and since then, Stein says the response from the community so far is better than he expected.

“It’s always a great feeling to have a community that’s so engaged and doesn’t just brush it to the side or think about it as an after thought because victims rights are hard to think about,” Stein said.

Kalpic is a domestic abuse survivor and is passionate about Marsy’s Law and rights for crime victims. She says she understands victims typically go unseen and hopes these resources will reach people who need them and to educate those who may know someone who is a victim so that they too know how to help.

“My hope is that this project, as you look around here, will honor the fact that we can all become a victim of crime,” Kalpic said. “As such, there is such a strong community here that we can count on and rely on for being there for us and assist us as we try to navigate the very intimidating justice system.”

Throughout Kalpic’s journey, she says she has been able to meet people like Stein who she admires for their work in the community.

“Working together and being together as part of this conversation, as we all are, is testimony yo how wonderfully the state of Wisconsin is doing when it comes to honoring and implementing strong and meaningful crime victims right,” Kalpic said.

On each of the eight silhouettes, there QR codes for the Office of Crime Victims Services, Marsy’s Law of Wisconsin and Bolton Refuge house. It’s encouraged to stop and take pictures and use the two hash tags on the silhouettes to spread awareness.

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