Walk to End Abuse aims to break cycle of violence
- Kaitlynn Nordal | May 22, 2019
For the participants of this year’s Annual Walk to End Abuse there was no other way they would want to spend their May long weekend.
For three days, the participants would walk to Saskatoon from Prince Albert, drive home and then do it again the next day.
Conrad Burns, the event’s founder and organizer, started the walk ten years ago to raise awareness after being in an abusive relationship himself.
“We have to break this cycle somehow. It took me a few years to figure out a way to move forward in a good way,” said Burns. “One day, I decided I’m going to walk from Prince Albert to Saskatoon…it was a realistic thing and not a lot of people were doing it…I thought it would be an unobtrusive way to start the conversation.”
“As I was learning about abuse, I realized a lot of my friends and family was abused so I wasn’t just walking for myself I was walking for everyone else,” he said. “For those struggling in silence, for those who have no outlet, for those who are on a healing journey…We (in Prince Albert) have nothing to talk about the abuse that is happening so we have to start that conversation and really accept what's going on and create those changes needed.”
Joanne Peekeekoot, who is Facebook friends with Burns and learned about it that way, participated for the first time this year.
“This year I just needed to be a part of it because I think we are all responsible in creating change to better our world,” said Peekeeekoot. “I wanted to be proactive in that because it’s a topic that hits closer to home than I feel comfortable talking about a lot of the time.”
Peekeekoot is a survivor of domestic abuse and believes this annual walk is a good way to start a conversation.
“It’s a good setting because you are out there and you’re making a big statement that says I am not tolerating that, I’m not going to be silent about that, and inviting other people to be comfortable as part of a group to bring awareness to abuse,” she said. “When I was on that road, I was making that statement that I'm not going to tolerate it and I'm going to talk about it.”
Peekeekoot decided to participate this year to not only bring light to the situation but also because she felt that she could not sit around and do nothing anymore.
“I don’t want to be that person sitting on the sidelines complaining about something when here is an opportunity to be proactive about it,” she said.
However, she believes participating in the walk isn’t just about her, it’s about family.
“I have four daughters and I have three granddaughters and I would not want them to be touched by abuse in any way shape or form. I want this world to be better for them,” Peekeekoot said.
Participants got ready for the walk by walking and jogging to get their legs prepared for the trek. Although the walk went smoothly, it was not without its challenges.
“Our vehicle broke down on the first day, which put us back four hours, so we lost our support vehicle,” said Burns. “The wind is always hard, so we got windburn. Keeping hydrated is always an issue because under the sun in hot weather you always worry about heatstroke.”
It is estimated in Canada that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced abuse in some form.