THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA — A brand new Statistics Canada report that paints an image of widespread sexual misconduct on the nation’s prestigious navy schools is prompting recent criticism in addition to guarantees of motion greater than six years after the Canadian Armed Forces first dedicated to rooting such behaviour from the ranks.
The report follows a survey of 512 officer cadets on the Royal Army School in Kingston, Ont., and its French-language counterpart in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., through which 68 per cent of scholars mentioned that they had witnessed or personally skilled what was described as undesirable sexualized behaviour. That included sexual jokes or feedback a few scholar’s look.
That was not far off the 71 per cent of scholars at different post-secondary establishments throughout Canada who reported witnessing or experiencing such behaviour. However the navy ordered a crackdown on such actions throughout the Armed Forces after a collection of media stories about sexual misconduct within the ranks was first printed in 2014.
And 28 per cent of feminine respondents mentioned that they had been sexually assaulted throughout their time on the navy schools — almost twice the speed amongst college students at post-secondary establishments in the remainder of the nation.
Fifteen per cent of feminine officer cadets reported having been sexually assaulted prior to now 12 months, in comparison with 11 per cent within the normal inhabitants.
Touching was commonest type of assault
Sexual touching was the commonest type of assault skilled by each ladies and men on the Canadian navy schools, in keeping with the report, whereas “11 per cent of girls CMC college students indicated that they skilled sexual assaults — probably the most critical type of sexual assault.
Marie-Claude Gagnon, a former naval reservist who based a gaggle for survivors of navy sexual trauma known as It’s Simply 700, mentioned the findings increase critical questions and considerations concerning the surroundings on the two schools. Gagnon instructed the Canadian Armed Forces has but to actually acknowledge there’s a distinctive drawback on the establishments.
“The stats hold proving that there’s really a better prevalence in service and now in navy schools than occurs in civil society,” Gagnon mentioned. “However to ensure that that to be regarded into, they should first acknowledge that there’s a distinction. … That it’s not simply individuals coming in with that baggage.”
Issues flagged in 2015
Retired Supreme Court docket justice Marie Deschamps first flagged considerations about Canada’s navy schools in a damning report about sexual misconduct within the Armed Forces in March 2015. The report cited college students describing sexual assault as a ceremony of passage and an ever-present risk on the establishments.
But a panel of former navy officers reported to chief of the defence workers Gen. Jonathan Vance in March 2017 that there was no proof of widespread sexual misconduct on the Royal Army School in Kingston, a discovering Vance appeared to simply accept given an absence of police stories and different indicators.
“I might know if there was a development,” Vance instructed The Canadian Press on the time. “If there was a major problem there, we might know.”
Following the discharge of the Statistics Canada report on Thursday, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan mentioned he was “deeply involved” concerning the findings earlier than promising, with out particulars, to take motion to deal with the issue.
“Even one occasion of sexual misconduct or discrimination is one too many,” he mentioned in a press release. “That’s fully unacceptable and has no place in our establishments or our nation. We are going to take all motion needed to make sure that these instructional establishments are secure and inclusive for everybody.”
The Canadian Armed Forces launched its personal unsigned assertion saying sexual misconduct is not going to be tolerated within the navy. It additionally mentioned the Forces is methods to deal with the issue on the schools, although it added that the survey was carried out in 2018 and 2019 — earlier than a number of new applications have been launched.
These embody new coaching for college to raised acknowledge, stop and reply to sexual misconduct in addition to new curriculum for officer cadets developed by the Kingston faculty and the navy’s sexual misconduct response centre in Ottawa. Two girls’s assist teams have additionally been created in Saint-Jean, the navy mentioned.
Gagnon mentioned after six years of guarantees to sort out the issue, she would have anticipated higher outcomes from the navy schools. On the identical time, she expressed concern that the difficulty has began to slide off the radar for the Armed Forces as fatigue and different points akin to COVID-19 preoccupy leaders, which she instructed spoke to an even bigger drawback.
“If there was buy-in, there wouldn’t be the necessity for exterior stress to maintain bringing this topic up,” she mentioned. “Folks would imagine it’s an issue that must be fastened and they might push that drawback to be fastened. … I feel this can be a symptom of not having the buy-in from the individuals making the boots-on-the-ground selections.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 8, 2020.
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