VERNON – RCMP say two people have been charged in connection with an attack earlier this month on a man camping in Vernon’s Polson Park.
Now the victim is speaking out, saying he doesn’t want violence against homeless people to be ignored.
Michael Brett says he was camping in the back of the park with his brother when he was attacked by people he knew.
“I was sleeping…they came in and my brother was bear sprayed. I woke up wondering what was going on when I was struck in the head by a machete. I was bear sprayed and hit the ground,” says Brett.
His brother was able to get him to a local shelter where 911 was called, and he was subsequently rushed to hospital.
The local John Howard Society says attacks on people sleeping outside aren’t common, but violence is a real risk faced by the homeless.
“Any time someone doesn’t have a home of their own or they are not staying at a registered campground your risk becomes quiet high…you become far more at risk of sexual assault, of being violently physically assaulted,” says Kelly Fehr with the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan/Kootenay.
Brett wants to tell his story publicly because he feels violence against homeless people doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
“Anything that happens to us out here is always just swept under the carpet. Nobody ever hears about it whether it be the physical assaults or the sexual assaults on the women out here nobody every speaks of it,” says Brett.
Brett suffered severed tendons and a severed artery along with his scars, and will require more surgery. He’s now staying in a shelter.
Although two people have already been charged in connection with the incident police say the matter is still under investigation.