Kelowna fundraiser raises awareness about Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The breakfast supports the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society

Several staff and students came out to breakfast on Wednesday morning in support of the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society’s Speak Out campaign.

The breakfast was by donation and started off with singing and drumming. Elizabeth Fry executive director Michelle Novakowski and community engagement coordinator Mandy Glinsbockel then talked about the Society’s trauma counselling services and the fundraising efforts through their Speak Out campaign.

Elizabeth Fry has partnered with the university’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) to raise awareness about Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

SVPRO support team member Shilo St. Cyr said the aim of the morning’s event was to highlight the importance of trauma counselling services and trauma-informed training.

“Here at the university we have trauma-informed investigators so they understand the myths around sexual violence. They understand how memory is impacted when someone experiences sexual violence,” St. Cyr said.

She added this is why fundraisers aimed at supporting trauma services are important.

Novakowski said she was pleased with the turnout for the event.

“I’m really happy with the questions that were asked and I believe this group will share that information and the ripples will grow wider,” she said.

Next week Elizabeth Fry, UBCO and SVPRO will host a panel to discuss structural changes that can offer better support for sexual violence survivors. The panel comes after reports revealed the RCMP deemed 40 per cent of sexual assault cases as “unfounded” in 2019.

For more information on that event, visit this site.

READ MORE: Petition calls for sexual assault investigation unit within Kelowna RCMP

READ MORE: UBCO and Elizabeth Fry host panel to discuss structural change for sexual assault survivors

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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