Seven years after Tammy Bowlin-Macrae was shot to death by her boyfriend, her sisters are working to ensure her legacy lives on.
Since 2008, an annual walk held in Ms. Bowlin-Macrae’s name has raised nearly $20,000 to help educate local teens about dating violence.
Proceeds from the seventh annual Tammy’s Walk — set for Saturday at Walbridge Park, 2761 Broadway St., across from the Toledo Zoo — go directly to Advocates for Victims and Justice Inc., a nonprofit arm of the Toledo-Lucas County Victim-Witness Assistance program that teaches area junior high and high school students about teen dating violence, cyberbullying, and sexting.
Registration for the 2.5-mile walk begins at 8:30 a.m. at the gazebo, and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m.
Ms. Bowlin-Macrae’s sister, Robin Bowlin, said this year participants will be able to write a name or message on a balloon, and the balloons will be released just before the walk.
Ms. Bowling-Macrae, 46, was fatally shot by her longtime boyfriend, Lawrence Jameson, on Aug. 25, 2007 — a crime for which he pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and is serving a life sentence with parole eligibility after 20 years.
While Tammy’s Walk is not technically a fund-raiser — participants need not collect pledges or pay a fee — Ms. Bowlin said donations are accepted and proceeds from T-shirt sales go directly to Advocates for Victims and Justice.
She and her sister, Kay Etue, who chairs the annual walk, want the event to raise awareness about domestic violence, an issue that seems to make headlines only in the wake of a violent domestic homicide.
“It’s mentioned then it’s quietly shoved underneath the rock again. Something else happens or another story hits,” Ms. Bowlin said. “I just feel like there’s not enough attention given to it. I want it to be out there, to have it in the public eye.”
Lynn Carder, director of the Toledo-Lucas County Victim-Witness Assistance program, said Advocates for Victims and Justice created the teen dating violence class in conjunction with the sponsors of Tammy’s Walk. The goal is to teach young men and women to recognize relationship violence.
“A lot of people think it has to be a black eye or a broken nose, but the fact is it can be emotional, psychological, or sexual — forcing your partner to do something you don’t want to do, isolating them from family or friends,” Ms. Carder said. “They don’t have to lay a hand on you so it’s learning to know the signs and knowing what you can do to protect yourself and get out of an unhealthy relationship.”
Jodie Crowl, a school counselor for Toledo Public Schools at Spring and Riverside schools, said she has hosted the program for eighth graders on the threshold of high school for the past few years.
“Students have become increasingly desensitized to all types of violence,” Ms. Crowl said. “The Teen Dating Violence Prevention program gives both male and female students a realistic depiction of teen dating violence instead of the fictional, glamorized scenes they are often exposed to through music, videos, and the media.”
She said she believes it’s had a positive effect. And that is what motivated Ms. Bowlin-Macrae’s sisters to start Tammy’s Walk.
Ms. Bowlin said she misses her sister, who she considered her best friend.
“It’s been seven years, but it’s just the hardest thing,” she said. “It’s still just as fresh as it was the day it happened. I’m sure lots of family members who have gone through this feel the same way.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.