Annual march raises awareness for sexual abuse

The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society's upcoming Take Back the Night Rally aims to raise awareness of sexual assault and sexual violence in the community.

Michelle Novakowski, Executive Director of the Society, says these are deep-rooted issues in Kelowna.

“Most women that I know, while walking to their cars alone at night, don’t feel comfortable,” says Novakowski. “We’d like to have the world feel safer than that.”

Novakowski says the Society provides trauma counselling and support to over 600 sexual assault victims every year, and their one program for victims under the age of 19 is constantly full.

With the municipal election taking place next month, Novakowski hopes that sexual abuse and public safety will be key topics among candidates for mayor and council.

“I do intend to go to some of the panels to ask some questions,” says Novakowski. “We do have some well-informed people on Council right now, and I’m hoping that a couple of those people will still be on there after the election.”

Across North America, the number of sexual assault cases that are reported to police is alarmingly low, with less than 10 percent being reported.

The Take Back the Night Rally takes place this Thursday at 6 PM in Kerry Park.