Protest against domestic violence planned for steps of Kelowna courthouse - InfoNews

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Protest against domestic violence planned for steps of Kelowna courthouse

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
July 08, 2020 - 7:30 PM

Robyn Nicole didn’t have to be living with her new boyfriend for very long to be scarred for life.

She got together with him last summer but fled a short time later. He’s scheduled to be in a Kelowna courtroom next week facing two counts of assault, uttering threats and, most serious of all, choking to overcome.

iNFOnews.ca is not using Nicole's real name to protect her identity because she fears retaliation.

“The trauma from this lasts a lifetime,” Nicole said. “It’s not something that’s easily forgettable.”

She thought the court appearance would be an opportune time to raise awareness about the pain of the abuse and how lightly it is often taken by the justice system, so she’s organizing a protest for 12:30 p.m. Monday, July 13 at the courthouse on Water Street.

Nicole did not want to name her ex-boyfriend, not only because it may take away from the message of her protest, but again, she fears retaliation.

READ MORE: Domestic violence reports surge as COVID-19 stay-at-home directive drags on

She realizes she was lucky to be able to get out of the relationship quickly, rather than face years of abuse and economic dependence as some woman do.

In part, she’s organizing the event to raise awareness of the resources that are available for women that many may not know about.

“For example, you can go on the CSO (Court Services Online) site and you can look up somebody’s name and it brings up any provincial cases, whether they’ve been resolved yet or not,” she said. “If it’s related to something domestic it’s denoted with a K, so you can see that right away and know who you’re dealing with. If some people had known about this feature before they could avoid or, at least, be careful around certain people. Nowadays it’s so important because you don’t know who you’re dealing with a lot of the time.”

After she was assaulted she moved out right away and was homeless for a couple of weeks before she could find a place to live and get back on her feet.

She did file a complaint with the RCMP who started a file and gave her contact information for the Elizabeth Fry Society, but it wasn’t until after the society contacted the police on her behalf the investigation got serious, Nicole said.

Another issue of concern for her is how light sentences can be for such attacks.

Nicole spent two years working at a federal half-way house where many men released for sexual and domestic assaults passed through. Because of statutory release, they only served two-thirds of their sentences, less if they behaved well in prison.

Since many were put in protective custody because of the nature of their crimes, they were deemed qualified for early release, which meant some who were sentenced to two years were out in three or four months, she said.

“It’s very disheartening to have to witness that first-hand,” Nicole said. “I definitely think that there’s room for reform in that sense.”

She will be meeting with others later this week to make signs and organize the format for the protest.

Anyone wanting to get involved in the protest can email Nicole at robyn.p_444@hotmail.com.

Go to the CSO website here.

Learn more about the Elizabeth Fry Society here.


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