Domestic violence is a very real problem all year-round, though October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to especially focus on those whose lives have been lost and to spread the word about the assistance available for victims and survivors. Fennimore’s second annual Walk to Stop Domestic Violence is set for Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m., and it will once again provide continued awareness locally.
This year’s event will follow a similar timeline as in 2010 with a rally on the steps of the Fennimore Memorial Building in the beginning, a short walk nearby, and a program to follow in the Memorial Building. The event will also memorialize Angela Gabel, a Fennimore native who had been involved in an abusive relationship and died last October.
“Oct. 2 was the anniversary of Angela’s murder,” said walk coordinator Amy Wells-Scanlan. “Angela’s kids are really involved this year. During the walk, her oldest daughter, Choral, will be carrying a pair of Angela’s shoes—the ones she wore in Choral’s wedding. Her other kids will be walking too. There will be a moment of silence in memory of Angela. But this is a project to support all victims and survivors too.”
The program will feature music by Alisha Friederick, testimony by Gabel’s son Cody Friederick, and an informational speech by Robin Wiegel, director of Family Advocates. Throughout the one-hour program, Gabel’s shoes will be sitting on a pedestal in front of the audience.
“It will be to symbolize a woman who should’ve stood in those shoes and the fact that she’s not here today because of domestic violence,” said Wells-Scanlan, a survivor herself who recently accepted an invitation to be on the Family Advocates board as vice-president.
Poetry, prayer and sharing of literature about local domestic violence resources will also be part of Sunday’s program. The names of the 54 Wisconsinites who died in 2010 because of domestic abuse will also be read. In the end, Wells-Scanlan said, a tradition will be started as the group will sing “We Shall Overcome,” just as they did during the 2010 program.
“I hope we can keep the passion going this year,” Wells-Scanlan said. “I know a year is gone and some of the momentum is gone. It shouldn’t take a really awful tragedy like losing Angela to do this walk; this is really important. We want people to know that they have the right to speak up, to be treated with respect, and to get help. We want to help point people to the right resources and remind them that they are not alone.”
Victims, survivors, family, friends and members of the public are invited to participate in the second annual Walk to Stop Domestic Violence in Fennimore Sunday.
Several local businesses have lent a hand to assist with this year’s event. Tim Slack Realty is loaning his sound system to be used. Hometown Florist is making bows to adorn the walking route. And Noteable Delights is donating cookies in the shape of ribbons.
Volunteers who are able to help set up chairs in the Memorial Building the morning of the event are asked to contact Wells-Scanlan at 822-4831 or fellow coordinator Susan Childs at 732-2148. Also contact Wells-Scanlan or Childs for more information on Sunday’s activities.