Protest against Kelowna RCMP's high number of unfounded sex assault files planned - InfoNews

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Protest against Kelowna RCMP's high number of unfounded sex assault files planned

The Kelowna RCMP detachment is pictured in this undated file photo.
November 18, 2019 - 10:39 AM

A protest against Kelowna RCMP’s high number of unfounded sexual assault cases is planned for next weekend.

Calling it a protest against “RCMP Rape Culture,” participants are asked in a Twitter message to meet across the street from the police station at 1190 Richter St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. Notice of the protest was posted on Twitter.

Kelowna RCMP are conducting a review of sexual assault allegations filed with the Kelowna detachment in 2018 that showed about 36 per cent of such charges were dismissed as unfounded. Provincially, about 15 per cent of such cases are declared unfounded while the national rate is 14 per cent.

The protest is being organized by Heather Friesen and two other women who got together last week and decided they had to do something about what they say is the Kelowna RCMP’s poor record on investigating sexual assaults.

“They’re expecting the RCMP to investigate themselves,” Friesen told iNFOnews.ca. “I don’t want the RCMP to investigate themselves and I don’t want the RCMP to educate themselves.”

She wants an outside agency to provide education on how to deal with sexual assaults and wants the training to be mandatory.

Friesen said she was gang-raped in Kelowna 34 years ago when she was in high school. She just learned the names of two of her assailants last year so she reported the assault to the police. As far as she’s concerned, they did not properly investigate her allegations and have now closed the file.

From a small start, the planned protest seems to be gaining momentum as she’s getting lots of calls so she expects a good turnout on Saturday.

Last week, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran issued an apology for earlier comments he made about the unfounded statistics in Kelowna when he had expressed full confidence in the RCMP.

 — This story was updated Nov. 18, 2019, at 2:31 p.m. to include comments from Heather Friesen.


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