Top News

On the home stretch


It won’t be long before Gemma Hickey completes her Hope Walk in St. John’s on Aug. 2, as she passed through Clarenville on Monday.

She began her walk July 2 in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the Pathways Foundation, which she founded in 2013 to help survivors of religious institutional abuse, as well as the survivors’ families. Hickey herself is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.

Hickey told The Packet the issue is deep within Newfoundland and Labrador because of the abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage, Belvedere orphanage allegations, as well as individual instances of abuse in churches of all denominations.

“This is just another way I wanted to engage people,” Hickey said. “I want to focus not just on individual healing but collective healing. And I want everyone in the province to take some ownership of this and really look at it so we can work on prevention and really focus on visibility — bringing the issue to the surface so people can move past the shame.”

The walk is 900 kilometres long, with Hickey averaging around 30 kilometres per day.

Hickey called her trek a challenge both physically and mentally.

As for the physical struggles, she’s had two extremely hot days of walking to contend with as well as two days of high winds and rain. Aside from that, she’s thankful for the cool weather this summer — perfect for walking.

And she said there have been highs as well as lows on her journey. She’s met and talked with many different people along the way and has had plenty of time to reflect while walking.

On Sunday, Aug. 2, the month-long effort concludes at the Mount Cashel Memorial in St. John’s at 4 p.m. Pamela Morgan will perform the song she wrote entitled “Pathways.” Deputy Premier Steve Kent will speak on behalf of the provincial government, a sponsor.

“The progress has exceeded my expectations,” Hickey said. “I knew it would be successful because I knew the extent of the abuse that occurred within this province and I think that people are now talking about it, whereas before they wouldn’t want to talk about it.

“I think that as we talk about it we can move through the trauma together and having a safe space for dialogue is one way to effectively deal with what happened. Pathways will provide a number of services for survivors and their families.”

Hickey said she has laid a foundation with her work, including meetings, focus groups, and research, but there is a lot of work left to do.

On Monday, she announced the walk has raise $100,000 so far, that will go towards subsidizing the effort in addition to hiring staff and renting space for survivors in the future.

Hickey said it is important to give back and society bears the weight of abuse.

“We’re all responsible for each other,” Hickey said.

 

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

She began her walk July 2 in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the Pathways Foundation, which she founded in 2013 to help survivors of religious institutional abuse, as well as the survivors’ families. Hickey herself is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.

Hickey told The Packet the issue is deep within Newfoundland and Labrador because of the abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage, Belvedere orphanage allegations, as well as individual instances of abuse in churches of all denominations.

“This is just another way I wanted to engage people,” Hickey said. “I want to focus not just on individual healing but collective healing. And I want everyone in the province to take some ownership of this and really look at it so we can work on prevention and really focus on visibility — bringing the issue to the surface so people can move past the shame.”

The walk is 900 kilometres long, with Hickey averaging around 30 kilometres per day.

Hickey called her trek a challenge both physically and mentally.

As for the physical struggles, she’s had two extremely hot days of walking to contend with as well as two days of high winds and rain. Aside from that, she’s thankful for the cool weather this summer — perfect for walking.

And she said there have been highs as well as lows on her journey. She’s met and talked with many different people along the way and has had plenty of time to reflect while walking.

On Sunday, Aug. 2, the month-long effort concludes at the Mount Cashel Memorial in St. John’s at 4 p.m. Pamela Morgan will perform the song she wrote entitled “Pathways.” Deputy Premier Steve Kent will speak on behalf of the provincial government, a sponsor.

“The progress has exceeded my expectations,” Hickey said. “I knew it would be successful because I knew the extent of the abuse that occurred within this province and I think that people are now talking about it, whereas before they wouldn’t want to talk about it.

“I think that as we talk about it we can move through the trauma together and having a safe space for dialogue is one way to effectively deal with what happened. Pathways will provide a number of services for survivors and their families.”

Hickey said she has laid a foundation with her work, including meetings, focus groups, and research, but there is a lot of work left to do.

On Monday, she announced the walk has raise $100,000 so far, that will go towards subsidizing the effort in addition to hiring staff and renting space for survivors in the future.

Hickey said it is important to give back and society bears the weight of abuse.

“We’re all responsible for each other,” Hickey said.

 

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

Recent Stories