The family of the victim of a domestic homicide in Bowness is remembering the 33-year-old for how she lived, celebrating her as a shining soul and a loving mother of two.
Robin Sawers said her sister Melissa Blommaert had just celebrated her birthday on Sunday, one day before she died.
“Your shining soul, your contagious laughter and your eloquence will keep your memories strong in my heart,” Sawers said.
Sawers told Global News Blommaert’s past few years were challenging, but said she wants her life and memory to be celebrated.
On Wednesday, flowers paying tribute to the mother could be seen near the intersection where she was found.
Police have arrested 35-year-old Ronald Candaele at a home in the Bowness area. He has been charged with second-degree murder in Blommaert’s death.
Flowers paying tribute to Blommaert near the scene where she was found.
A domestic violence support group is asking the public to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship following the tragic case.
The Calgary Domestic Violence Collective said domestic abuse in the province is pervasive and said one-third of Albertans will experience domestic violence sometime in their life.
“It’s always devastatingly sad when someone loses their life, even more so to domestic violence… It always makes me ask the question: what can society do?” Calgary Domestic Violence Committee co-chair and Sagesse executive director, Andrea Livingstone, said.
Livingstone said many victims don’t speak out because they often blame themselves.
“They think it’s their fault and so they don’t come and seek support because they think they deserve what’s happening to them,” she said.
According to Livingstone, the odds of the victim getting help greatly improve when they share with others what they’re going through.
“Reserach and data show that when friends and family members respond appropriately to disclosure of domestic violence, that individual is less likely to have an escalation of violence… When a friend or a family member does not respond well to disclosure, that person is much likely to stay in a domestic violence relationship for a much longer time— almost three times longer — and more likely to need emergency and crisis supports down the road.”
The group is urging everyone who suspects a friend or family member may be abused to simply ask.
“Some of the questions you can ask are: ‘are you OK? You don’t seem like yourself,’ or, ‘You seem a little bit afraid.’ Those sorts of questions will provide an opening for someone in an abusive relationship.
“Don’t just ask the question once, ask the questions a few different times and a few different ways. It doesn’t have to be a serious ‘let’s sit down and talk’ but can be while having a coffee.”
Anyone in need of help can call 403-234-7233 (S.A.F.E.)
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call the 24-hour support line at 310-1818.
–With files from Heide Pearson