(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran told a sexual assault survivor and advocate of the city’s rape survivors to “be quiet” as she demonstrated in council chambers today.

Donning a shirt that read ‘rape culture lives here’ and a sign that read ‘your silence speaks volumes’, Heather Friesen began to speak to her issues during a regularly scheduled council meeting but was stopped by the mayor.

“Ma’am if you could please be quiet, that would be appreciated,” Mayor Basran said to her.

“Just like you?” quipped Friesen.

In a Tweet following her exit of council chambers, Friesen said the mayor should know by now that she won’t be quiet.

The city and Kelowna RCMP detachment came under fire in October 2019 after Kelowna Capital News revealed 40 per cent of sexual assaults reported to police in 2019 were deemed “unfounded.”

Since then Friesen has been on the warpath, calling the city “steeped in rape culture” and organizing both a protest in front of the RCMP detachment and a petition to implement a sex crime unit for Kelowna. She has also become one of the most outspoken advocates of sexual assault victims in the city.

Friesen said she’s met with several councillors and other local politicians, who have expressed their support behind closed doors but have yet to make a public statement. She did not give the names of those she’s met with but said Basran refused a meeting.

Following the meeting, Basran denied that Heather made a formal request to speak to him.

This is the second time Friesen has attended a council meeting to call out the mayor and councillors directly.

The Kelowna RCMP has completed an internal review of the extremely high number of unfounded sexual assaults, however, the results have not yet been made public.

“Why aren’t (councillors) asking the Kelowna RCMP to give them that review?” Friesen said.

The council meeting continued as scheduled but after it was adjourned, the mayor said he will request the RCMP’s report on the unfounded sexual assaults come to light.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP completes internal review of sexual assault cases deemed ‘unfounded’

READ MORE: Sexual assault survivor confronts Kelowna mayor at council meeting


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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