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Since 1979 • July 2020 • Circulation 5500

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McCauley Senior Woman Walks for Women’s Safety and Shelters

Joanne McNeal (pictured with her dogs) is walking around Caboto Park to raise awareness of family violence and to support survivors. Doug Rygalo

On Mother’s Day, I began walking around Caboto Park daily to support women and children who need safety after experiencing family violence – because I, too, am a survivor of family violence.

Why am I doing this? Because it takes a great deal of courage and strength to acknowledge what is happening, and find a way to safety. I want to do something positive to help women who are going through this—I want them to see they can become survivors, not just victims of horrific violent actions. It takes the help and awareness of friends and neighbours who know the signs, and how depressing and demeaning abusive actions are. We all can help.

I know first-hand what it is like to be verbally and physically abused. As such, I hope this walk will also help me to heal unresolved issues and do something positive to help other women. It is a long and scary process to find safety, but no woman or child should have to experience violence. If you are in these circumstances, know that you are valuable. You deserve to be treated with respect, and women’s shelters are here to help support you with accommodation, risk assessment, safety planning, and more.

To support my effort to raise awareness and help women, please direct donations to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters at “acws.ca/donate”:https://acws.ca/donate. 

Although I fell and was injured, I plan to continue walking every day until about mid-August to reach 80 days of walking to celebrate my 80th birthday. Hopefully, my walking around Caboto Park will help bring awareness of family violence, and help women see they can become survivors instead of victims.

_ Joanne C. McNeal, Ph.D., McCauley senior._

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