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Hundreds of people are walking in Saskatoon to raise awareness about domestic violence

Hundreds of people are walking in Saskatoon to raise awareness about domestic violence

More than a hundred walkers came to Saskatoon on Saturday to raise awareness about domestic violence and murder in the city.

The route saw walkers holding signs, escorted by police, take a non-direct route from Howard Coad School to Saskatoon Police Headquarters downtown.

Among the walkers were several families whose lives had been forever changed by domestic violence, including Andrea Naytowhow, who lost her niece Melissa to domestic violence last fall.

“Today we are here to break the silence and stop the violence in the community,” Naytowhow said.

Co-organizer Cathleen Balon lost her daughter Nykera in 2022. Many people in the audience had similar stories of violence within their families and communities.

“No more victim blaming, these women can’t leave, they can’t go anywhere. So it’s time for them to have a place to go. All the shelters are full, what’s a piece of paper going to do,” Balon said.

Saskatoon Police Chief Cam McBride was among the protesters.

“I believe that working together with the community is the future of policing, and that this will be commonplace from now on,” McBride said.

For McBride, it was an important moment to build bridges and talk to people directly affected by the issue.

“It was a great opportunity to talk about some of the challenges that individuals face, even challenges in dealing with law enforcement in this area. It’s critical to get a first-hand understanding of individuals who are living in these circumstances,” McBride said.

Organizers urge anyone experiencing domestic violence to seek help or do whatever they can to remove themselves from the situation.

Several resources exist in Saskatoon for those experiencing domestic violence, through transitional housing, crisis lines and victim services.

Saskatoon Interval House offers a domestic violence/abuse crisis line available at 1-888-338-0880