Cpl. Laurie Rock of the Penticton RCMP with other participants at the SOWINS Walk to End Abuse Sunday. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Break the silence. Stop the violence – Okanagan women’s group

The SOWINS Walk to End Abuse took place Sunday

Breaking the silence to stop the violence was the message at the start of the sixth annual South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) Walk to End Abuse Sunday.

Gathered at Rotary Park on Okanagan Lake, the more than 100 participants and spectators heard from several speakers about the importance of ending the violence and abuse of women and children.

Among those who spoke was RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Vatamaniuck who was in attendance with Cpl. Laurie Rock dressed in her red serge.

“The RCMP, we strive to keep our community safe, we work with our community partners but it’s so important for someone to feel safe in their own home and if you’re a victim of abuse, a victim of violence it’s so important to come to the RCMP,” said Vatamaniuck. “SOWINS does such a great job working with us and making sure you’re looked after but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Mayor John Vassilaki also volunteered his time for the event and also spoke about the importance of SOWINS.

“I hope you all take the walk and dig deep into your pockets and give some money to SOWINS so they can continue the fantastic work they do day after day dealing with those folks who need their help so badly,” he said. “It’s very, very, very important to, if you see abuse or violence, please report it .

“In this manner we can save lives. You don’t want to see women being abused and especially little children, so please if you see something happening please report it so we can stop it and help ladies and their children to live a much much better life.”

READ MORE: Penticton Boston Pizza steps up commitment to SOWINS Walk to End Abuse

Executive director Debbie Scarborough of SOWINS added the fundraising walk was also to raise awareness and remember the people who are still walking the journey, living with abuse.

“We do hear back on a fairly regular basis, ‘Debbie, what can I do if I can’t donate, if I can’t work in the field?’ Well, it’s really important that we all know that if we don’t commit an act of abuse or violence that’s the best way to help,” she said.

READ MORE: South Okanagan Women In Need Society sees growing need for services

“I’m hoping that everyone here commits to not committing an act of violence and not condoning an act of violence and certainly listening to those who are living it. We’re going to be a much better community and hopefully a much better world at the end of the day.”



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Staff Sgt. Bob Vatamaniuck of the Penticton RCMP talked about the importance of being safe in your own home at the SOWINS walk. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Cpl. Laurie Rock with executive director Debbie Scarborough of SOWINS. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Cpl. Laurie Rock of the Penticton RCMP detachment took part in the annual SOWINS Walk to End Abuse Sunday. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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