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Published: Friday, 8/21/2009

Tammy's Walk to remember victims of domestic violence

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bowlin-Macrae Bowlin-Macrae
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Tammy Bowlin-Macrae had a volatile relationship with her longtime boyfriend - it was a romance with both good and bad times, her family said.

But like most who have endured the pain of an abusive relationship, neither she nor her family predicted that it would end with two bullets.

Ms. Bowlin-Macrae was shot to death Aug. 25, 2007, in her Toledo apartment by her boyfriend, Lawrence Jameson, after spending a day out with him. Now sentenced to life in prison, Jameson shot the 46-year-old woman once in the head and once in the heart.

Two years after her death, her family and the community hope to remember Ms. Bowlin-Macrae and other victims like her with an annual walk for domestic violence awareness.

Tammy's Walk will start at the gazebo in Walbridge Park on Broadway Street tomorrow morning and continue through the surrounding South Toledo neighborhood. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m.

"I think from all this tragedy that has come from Tammy's death, I had to make something positive," said Robin Bowlin, Ms. Bowlin-Macrae's sister and the event chairman. "It's a very quiet issue. People don't want to tell others about it because they're scared or embarrassed. This walk, it just might save one person."

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Most of those cases aren't reported. Men also can be victims of domestic violence.

The Washington-based organization also reported that nearly one-third of all reported female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.

Kathy Newlove understands that statistic well.

Her daughter, Alicia Castillon of Bowling Green, was shot to death on March 29, 2007, at age 30 by a former boyfriend who had a history of stalking and assaulting her. Ten days after her daughter's death, Ms. Newlove created Alicia's Voice in Bowling Green to help other victims of abusive relationships break free.

The group has opened a resource center for abuse victims at 320 W. Gypsy Lane Rd., and holds annual fund-raising events to help those who leave their abusers.

"Once a woman has gotten to the point where she's walking away, we need to grab her up and give her all the help she needs so she doesn't go back and so that she doesn't have to go back," Ms. Newlove said.

"Domestic violence knows no age, it knows no income. It can happen to anybody. And it happens to so many people who are still so ashamed to come out," she added. "We just have to let them know that this is not anything that you have done to deserve this. It's the sickness of the abuser."

Tomorrow's 2.5-mile walk starting in Walbridge Park won't serve as a fund-raiser, but any money that is donated is slated to go to Advocates for Victims and Justice, Inc., a nonprofit organization that funds victim programs. Specifically, the money will be used to help develop a new program to educate teenagers about dating violence.

According to information gathered by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adolescents has reported being a victim of physical dating violence and one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

The program has been created by Victims Forum, one of the many services provided by the Toledo-Lucas County Victim-Witness Assistance Program. Executive Director Areti Tsavoussis said the goal is to be proactive and offer teens the education they need.

"Based on what we see, there is a huge need to do prevention programs in school," she said. "This will engage the kids and I think awareness is key for students that age."

Victims Forum program coordinator Lynn Carder added that often people think of domestic violence as a black eye. Instead, it is often the controlling and emotionally abusive behavior that one partner exerts over another.

"We're trying to educate kids on the warning signs; what to look for, how to recognize that they're in an abusive relationship, and how to get help to get out safely," she said.

As a reminder that victims are not alone, numerous life-size silhouettes representing women in northwest Ohio who were killed in a case of domestic violence will be at Tammy's Walk. Created by a local chapter of the Silent Witness National Initiative out of Bowling Green State University, each of the sculptures is adorned with the name of a woman killed.

One of the looming red figures will bear Tammy Bowlin-Macrae's name.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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