The #SPEAKOUT campaign was announced on Nov. 1 with a goal of $7,500 to be put towards the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society’s programs. (Contributed)

Elizabeth Fry Society launches #SPEAKOUT campaign in Kelowna

The campaign is meant to build awareness of intimate partner and sexual violence in the community

Following recent data from Statistics Canada that showed 40 per cent of sexual assault reports in Kelowna go “unfounded,” the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society has launched #SPEAKOUT, a campaign to raise awareness and support for survivors of sexual violence.

The campaign was announced on Nov. 1 to build awareness of intimate partner and sexual violence in the community and to shine a spotlight on the critical need for services provided by the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society to support survivors.

READ MORE: ‘Steeped in rape culture’: sexual assault survivor speaks out against Kelowna RCMP

READ MORE: Forty per cent of sexual assaults in Kelowna deemed ‘unfounded’ in 2018

The society is asking individuals, businesses and community groups to share photos and words of support for survivors on social media using the hashtag #SPEAKOUT. Through the campaign, the society is hoping to raise $7,500, which would amount to 100 counselling sessions.

“We want to raise more public awareness for sexual and domestic violence in our community,” said Michelle Novakowski, executive director of the society.

“This is why we launched #Speakout so that people can support survivors in our city, learn how they can help and not be a bystander.”

According to the Elizabeth Fry Society, those who need to access trauma counselling services for sexual assault at the Elizabeth Fry Society in Kelowna are facing a six-month waitlist due to a lack of public funding for the program. Last year, the society provided critical service to 2,892 clients and received over 11,000 inquiries for service. The society said while some of the programs and intake services for survivors are publicly funded, the adult counselling program is not.

Donations are being accepted at speakoutokanagan.com.


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