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Mother to share painful story of abuse

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The mother of a murdered teen is coming to Fort Frances to share her story—and hopefully prevent a similar tragedy in another family.

Dawna Speers will offer a free community presentation this Thursday (June 29) at 5 p.m. at the Sunset Country Métis Hall, where she will screen “A Love that Kills,” an award-winning documentary about her murdered daughter.

Monica Drake was killed at the age of 19 by her former boyfriend.

The 20-minute documentary also features interviews with young people talking about the symptoms of partner abuse from both a male and female perspective.

Speers will talk about how the abuse her daughter suffered escalated from emotional to financial to physical. She also will help identify the signs of abuse—particularly in relationships among youth.

Peggy Loyie, with the United Native Friendship Centre here, is helping organize the presentation, and is hoping both youths and their parents will attend.

“I really want parents to come out. Kids get in these relationships and it’s good for parents to know the signs,” she stressed.

“Often teenagers don’t have the skill set to get out of that cycle,” Loyie added.

That’s why parents need to keep an eye out for signs of abuse—and take action.

“I think people need to hear the message,” Loyie said. “Everything around us is increasingly violent. It’s coming out in relationships, as well.”

The presentation will include a free pizza supper, as well as free tickets to the “Skateboard Park Teen Dance” for the first 25 participants (the dance will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion later that evening).

In addition to the free community talk, Speers also will be facilitating a two-day professional development workshop entitled “Choices for Positive Youth Relationships.”

Speers with co-facilitate the sessions with Maggie Babcock, director of programs for the Speers Society.

The free workshop for professionals in social work will run June 27-28 at La Place Rendez-Vous, with some 45 participants already registered, noted Loyie.

The workshop and community presentation are made possible through a grant from the provincial Ministry of the Attorney General.

(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)

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