On Wednesday evening, a 34-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the Carlington area.
That such an incident could happen the night before hundreds of women marched through downtown Ottawa to protest violence against women is infuriating to Concillia Muonde, public education co-ordinator of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa.
“I don’t know how to express the anger that we have,” she said. “For 31 years we’ve been doing this, and only yesterday we heard about a woman that was raped. What does that say?”
Carleton University student Rachel McSwain was among those taking part in the march.
McSwain said she was the victim of a sexual assault during the last school year. She didn’t report the incident to police due to a lack of evidence. While her close friends and family understood and supported her, without a witness, she felt like there was nothing she could do.
“It’s been a rough road, but I’m working hard,” she said. “The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre has been helping a lot.”
The SASCO had challenged city leaders to stand against violence against women and promote the cause. Muonde said they were disappointed that no one rose to the challenge.
Alex Clark was among the male allies who took part in the march.
“When I think of the women in my life — my girlfriend, my mother and my friends — I want to know that they feel safe and feel confident walking around the streets,” he said.