Why I am running a half marathon on June 28, 2015






By Angela Marie MacDougall

Leanne called me a few weeks back, about her sister, Caitlyn.  Leanne loves her sister and understands all too well Caitlyn’s experiences of childhood trauma and serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse experienced during a 12 year marriage. I learned that Caitlyn had called BWSS Crisis Line last year looking for counselling and was put on our waitlist. Leanne wondered if there was something I could do, as executive director, to help her sister get off the waitlist. I suggested Caitlyn call me so that I may speak with her directly to explore options. When Caitlyn called, we spoke for close to an hour and during the conversation she said she was living with the effects of trauma, excessive fears, problems sleeping, anxiety, nightmares, and sometimes depression. What Caitlyn described is fairly typical for trauma survivors. She assured me she was not in any danger presently, and that “I just really need help dealing with all the horrible things that happened for most of my life”. It was so difficult telling Caitlyn that she was at least a year away from getting counselling.

With her permission, one of our crisis team members arranged a short-term one to one session with Caitlyn to assess current difficulties and to explore options such as our Support Group Program.

FullSizeRender (9)By Paola…Rest in power, rest in peace dear Sister

Living with the effects of trauma after leaving an abusive relationship is a serious reality for women who access BWSS. It is not unusual that an acquaintance, community member, a friend and/or colleague will contact me hoping I might be able to help their loved one get counselling outside of our waitlist protocol. This understandable because the waiting period for BWSS counselling services is a year and half long. Women are offered counselling on a “first come, first served” basis from the date they requested counselling. Women who are in crisis and/or with immediate safety concerns receive support through our Crisis Line and Crisis Program Support Workers. Women on the counselling waitlist are able to access our Support Group Program which offers several specialized groups for trauma survivors and at any given time there are eight groups operating. There are women who prefer to be seen individually rather than attending support groups. We will never leave a woman without any support options. And the crisis support is not established to help women with the long standing trauma effects such as Caitlyn.

In 2014:

We responded to 10,319 Crisis Calls

We provided 2,547 Counselling Appointments

219 Women attended their first Support Group Session

3,235 Women access our Support Groups

There are ethical considerations which prevent anyone at BWSS to move women ahead of the queue except in instances where there are safety concerns. We continually seek out foundations or government funders who will fund counselling services and we submit grant applications every time we’re able. You may think funding counselling services would be easy…believe me it’s not. Which is why I am running at Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5K this June 28th. I have pledged to run a half marathon (21 kilometres) to raise $10,000, so BWSS can add another eight hours of counselling services a week and with another day 44 women could come off our waitlist and receive counselling.

With the help of Tanya Jones from Bee 3 Fitness, I have been training and this past Sunday I ran 16K…

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With one month to go, will you sponsor me so BWSS can add another day of counselling? There are women waiting right now for counselling and together we can make a difference in their lives…To sponsor me click here, to sponsor me as a monthly donor please call Ela at 604-808-4378.

For information and 10 Reasons to #Run4BWSS: https://www.bwss.org/walk-run-wheel/

Please follow me on Instagram at @Angela_Marie_1223.

Counselling is a highly specialized support service and at BWSS we have convened an incredible team of counsellors, each highly skilled, supervised and experienced in counselling modalities including (but not limited to): feminist, anti-oppression, narrative, expressive arts, focused orientated, Indigenous ceremonial practices, and EMDR.

Please meet the BWSS Counselling Team:

brandyBrandy Kane works from a wholistic, culturally appropriate framework, incorporating ceremony and medicines into her practice. Brandy is passionate about her work and chose this field because of her own story with family violence. Having to deal with many personal struggles as a result of colonization, Brandy overcame many obstacles and now works in a decolonizing and reclaiming framework that is empowering with the women she works with.


brynaBryna Andressen is a counsellor at BWSS providing support in times of crisis and transition, with attention to each person’s unique needs, goals, and strengths. She offers an approach to counselling that is respectful, creative, and affirming of each person’s capacity for healing and growth.



danielaDaniela Escolar has  been providing long term counselling for women who have experienced violence and co-facilitating several support groups at BWSS. She provides support for women and girls in English, Spanish and Hebrew.




rosaRosa Elena is wildly passionate about her work which is framed in a narrative, feminist, anti-oppression, practice. She is an active agent of change towards eradicating violence against girls and women.




shakibaShakiba Ahani has been working with battered women, youth, vulnerable adults and immigrants for over 14 years and is currently completing her Master of Counselling Psychology at City University. She is passionate and devoted to empower people and to assist them to move ahead in life.




sherriSherri Inouye works at BWSS supporting women to connect with their inner resources and personal power. She also provides counselling for young women who have experienced violence in their lives.



Thank you for your support…truly.

In Peace,

Angela Marie MacDougall


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UPDATE – Monday, June 15, 2015

With less than two weeks to race day, yesterday I managed to run 20K en route to 21K or half marathon.

And thanks to you, together we’re approaching $10,000 raised towards providing 44 women with essential counselling services. Make your tax deductible donation here. If you would prefer becoming a monthly donor please email us at endingviolence@bwss.org

Thank you for your support, together we’re stronger.





…Because The Violence Stops Here!