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Caped crusader was out to protect children

Andrea Nicholl

A woman dressed as "Bat Girl" who spread her wings and awareness from the top of a Cookstown water tower to promote parental alienation awareness day says she did it to help children.

Paulette MacDonald scaled the tower, outside of the Cookstown Outlet Mall, before 5 a.m. Saturday, but went unnoticed until 11:30 a.m.

The 49-year-old Alliston woman said she had to call to mall patrons below to get the attention of mall security.

"When he looked up at me perched up in the tower his chin hit the ground," MacDonald said, adding that police and firefighters arrived shortly afterwards. "It was the first time that I'd done something like that. I was very scared, but I was more scared for what would happen to the future of our children."

MacDonald wore a black spandex suit and yellow mask as she stood on the tower, hanging a banner promoting PA awareness day. April 25 marks the day that draws attention to children who are used as bargaining tools, and caught in the middle of divorces and custody battles.

"I'm trying to educate all the people who are involved with our children. They need to be aware of this and recognize this as a form of emotional child abuse," MacDonald said. "My whole message on Saturday was that love is for everyone. All children have the right to be loved, and to love both parents."

She began her campaign in fall 2007, after her own fight for custody over her two step-children.

"I'm overwhelmed with the injustice of non-custodial parents in family law," MacDonald said. "We are living the nightmare."

She said that her research and awareness of parental alienation came from her first appointment with a court appointed family counselor, and her exposure to the children caught in the middle.

"They were constantly in the middle of this mess and were forced into emotional turmoil, because of it. We've tried everything in order to protect our children and to remove them from the middle of this conflict."

She said that her two step-children, and her own adult children, think that her protest was amazing, and that her partner is supportive.

"I think it was very successful," she said. "I chose Bat Girl because I'm being a crimefighter and bodyguard to all children affected by parental alienation and hostile aggressive parenting."

MacDonald said that she has no regrets, although she's not happy that she was charged with mischief and must appear in court on May 28.

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Andrea Nicholl is the Examiner's intern from Sheridan College.



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