Run in memory of murdered woman aims to raise awareness of domestic violence
Ignore No More Run For Respect takes place this weekend in memory of Colleen Sillito
Mike Cameron wants to give his late girlfriend's death purpose by raising awareness of the cruelties of domestic abuse and supporting women who face it.
In 2015, Colleen Sillito was shot to death in by her ex-boyfriend, Paul Joseph Jacob, in murder-suicide. Her body was found on the driveway of her Fort Saskatchewan home northeast of Edmonton.
The 46-year-old mother of five was killed shortly after filing a restraining order against Jacob.
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In her application, Sillito described a history of verbal abuse by Jacob to her and her children, and said she feared for her life.
Cameron knew of the troubled relationship but never imagined that it would take Sillito's life.
While still in the initial throes of grief, Cameron made a vow that her story wouldn't end there. Since then, Cameron has been sharing his message of preventing gender-based violence with young men and boys in schools across the province.
Cameron has organized the Ignore No More Run For Respect on Sunday, in Gold Bar Park.
The 3K and 10K trail run is meant to honour Sillito's memory, stand in solidarity with survivors and help put an end to gender-based violence, Cameron said.
Looking at the cause of domestic violence
"To me, it was just shocking how prevalent this type of thing is," Cameron said in an interview Tuesday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.
"I promised that her story wouldn't end there, that I would I try to find some meaning in what happened, and find some purpose out of it."
When Sillito died, Cameron said a lot of people talked with him about this issues surrounding restraining orders, and how to address the failures of the criminal justice system.
"But for me, that's akin to putting a band-aid on a ruptured jugular. I'd rather go back and look at how we prevent men, or attitudes, like this from existing in the first place."
'She had time for everyone'
Cameron had been dating Silito for five months before she died. He described her as kind, giving and generous, someone who loved teaching art and yoga and was involved in her community.
"Colleen was one of the most mindful and present, kind and compassionate women that I have ever met. Just a wonderful human being," Cameron said.
"She had a way of making you see yourself through her eyes, through the eyes of love. She had time for everyone."
He blames the root of domestic violence on toxic stereotypes around "what it means to be a man," and hopes his walk will help teach young men about respect for women.
"As men, we're sort of brought up from a very young age that it's not okay to feel," Cameron said.
"For me, it starts with exploring your emotion and having the courage to do that. The man that killed Colleen, he made a decision based on a very temporary emotion that had a very permanent consequence."