UPDATE: Protest against Kelowna's high number of unfounded sex assault files | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Protest against Kelowna's high number of unfounded sex assault files

November 23, 2019 - 11:09 AM

A protest against Kelowna's high rates of unfounded sexual assault cases is underway.

Calling it a protest of "RCMP rape culture," organizers asked participants to join together outside the RCMP station on Richter Street today at 11 a.m.

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.

Aden Withers, one of the protest organizers alongside Heather Friesen, estimated 50 people came together in protest.

"I'm happy that we had people come out. I wish we had a little bit more," said Friesen. "It feels really good to know that there are some people within this community that have power that are receptive, because there are some."

Friesen said she hopes that the protest will cause more people to combat rape culture.

Delaney Mazza, a protest supporter and Friesen's daughter, said they have seen strong support from passing vehicles.

"I hope it will be more helpful for women in the future," Mazzy said. "I myself no longer want justice. I want justice for my future generations. I myself have a son. I want to make sure that his friends don't have to experience this, or even him himself."

On Friday, Friesen said she spoke with the RCMP to inform them of the protest and was treated well by the officers.

While many of the signs are pointed at the RCMP, some, such as one of Friesen's signs, target Mayor Colin Basran's initial reaction to the statistics.

Basran issued an apology last week.

-With files from Kathy Michaels and Rob Munro.

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