Aden Withers playing a hand-drum while protesting the high number of sexual assaults deemed “unfounded” by the Kelowna RCMP on Nov. 23, 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Aden Withers playing a hand-drum while protesting the high number of sexual assaults deemed “unfounded” by the Kelowna RCMP on Nov. 23, 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Rape survivor, Aden Withers, settles civil suit against Kelowna RCMP

The settlement was reached on Jan. 27

After a hard-fought legal battle with local law enforcement, Aden Withers has settled her civil suit against the Kelowna RCMP.

In 2012, at just 17 years old, Withers reported a sexual assault to the Kelowna RCMP. However, she was subject to brutal and victimizing questioning, in which she was asked if she was “turned on” while she was raped.

She filed a civil lawsuit against the detachment and the interrogating officer Cpl. Kenneth Hall in June 2019.

READ MORE: Civil suit brought against Kelowna RCMP officer after ‘abhorrent’ interrogation

On January 27, 2019, the two parties reached a settlement which Withers said she’s satisfied with.

“I’m feeling relieved and tired,” she said. “It’s over and done with, thank goodness.”

Though the details of the settlement are confidential, Withers said a “more fullsome” review will be undertaken at the detachment.

“I feel like payouts are always an excuse towards Aboriginal people to make it seem like what they did was right,” she said.

Withers said if she hadn’t brought her case to the public’s attention along with the issue of rape culture in Kelowna, things likely would have turned out differently.

“I think the outcome would’ve been a lot different,” she said. “Bringing this to the media definitely impacted the outcome of the settlement.”

While the experience was draining for Withers, she encourages other rape survivors to share their stories.

“Lots of people have come to me,” she said. “It feels good because that means people are paying attention to the rape culture in Kelowna.”

Over the last six months Withers has been an advocate for surviors, by sharing her story through various mediums and events.

The Kelowna RCMP confirmed all legal claims related to Withers’ experience have been settled.

“We regret this incident and remain committed to improving how our employees respond to victims and investigate allegations of sexual assault,” said Staff-Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, senior media relations officer with the RCMP’s E Division.

“This incident highlighted the importance for the RCMP to continue to review and update our sexual assault investigative training, practices and policies.”

As first reported in the Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 25, 2019, Statistics Canada data shows the Kelowna RCMP classified almost 40 per cent of sexual assault reports as unfounded in 2018. That number is more than double the 15 per cent average across the province and dwarfs the under five per cent averages in Vancouver and Victoria.

The RCMP recently said completed an internal review of the extremely high number of sexual assaults that were deemed “unfounded” by police in 2018 and 2019, however, the results have not yet been made public.

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

READ MORE: ‘We represent the 40%’: Protesters swarm Kelowna RCMP over unfounded sexual assault reports


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Voting day for the upcoming Central Okanagan Board of Education by-election is June 26. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan school board election set for June 26

Kelowna voters will go the polls to fill vacant Kelowna trustee seat

Two bikes that were stolen after a West Kelowna parking garage was looted on April 3. Photo: Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan
Parking garage looted in West Kelowna

A car was broken into and six storage lockers were ransacked

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read