NEWS

Solidarity walk held for Strathcona sexual assault victim

03/28/2015 01:09 EDT | Updated 05/27/2015 05:59 EDT
Around 250 people walked in solidarity on Friday evening to show their support for the victim who was viciously attacked in Strathcona. 

The community has been reeling in shock after a stranger armed with a rock and knife allegedly broke into the woman's house on Thursday, tied her up, choked her using clothing, and sexually assaulted her.

"We're just really sad and concerned and our hearts are going to the survivor," said area resident Pete Fry. 

"There's nothing to make sense of it's just a horrible, horrible thing."

Sarah Westwood, who lives in the neighbourhood, said the attack shocked her. 

"I didn't sleep in my house last night ... I had to duck police tape to get in and out of there after work and then I just went and stayed at a friend's house," she said. 

Neighbourhood on edge

Westwood said the attack has made her and her four roommates more vigilant. 

"This has adjusted our philosophies in terms of keeping the door locked more often ... it could have been any unlocked door in the neighbourhood he chose to walk through," she said.

"There's just a sort of unnerving energy in the air around the whole neighbourhood, and I think everyone is a little more suspect, more cautious ... and it's such a warm, connected neighbourhood that it's quite bizarre to be going through something like this."

Vancouver police Supt. Michelle Davey said police will hold a safety workshop in the community with members from its victim services unit.

"People just need to keep doing what they're doing, getting to know their neighbours, joining initiatives like block watch to make sure they're communicating with each other," Davey said. 

"And very importantly, if you see something suspicious or hear something suspicious to call 911 because our officers are on the streets and patrolling and will respond immediately."  

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