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Canadian Forces can’t sweep sexual assaults under the carpet, again

The military brass cannot have been surprised. Or, if they were, they were negligent. Statistics must be reported up the chain. They must certainly have heard—or perhaps dealt with—cases that never faced a formal charge.

The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright
National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, immediately ordered an investigation into sexual assaults in the Forces. It could be said the internal review ordered by General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff, left, is a step in the right direction. But from years of experience with whistleblowers, Canadians for Accountability knows it likely isn’t. Such reviews are a standard organizational response to accusations of serious misconduct. They are intended as a whitewash from the start.

Two weeks ago, L’actualité, and its sister magazine, Maclean’s, broke a major story on sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The numbers were stunning: it estimated an average of five assaults every day. What was worse, the victims reported being intimidated into not making or dropping complaints, being harassed if they persisted, and assailants getting off scot-free. National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

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Canadian Forces can’t sweep sexual assaults under the carpet, again

The military brass cannot have been surprised. Or, if they were, they were negligent. Statistics must be reported up the chain. They must certainly have heard—or perhaps dealt with—cases that never faced a formal charge.

The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright
National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, immediately ordered an investigation into sexual assaults in the Forces. It could be said the internal review ordered by General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff, left, is a step in the right direction. But from years of experience with whistleblowers, Canadians for Accountability knows it likely isn’t. Such reviews are a standard organizational response to accusations of serious misconduct. They are intended as a whitewash from the start.

Two weeks ago, L’actualité, and its sister magazine, Maclean’s, broke a major story on sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The numbers were stunning: it estimated an average of five assaults every day. What was worse, the victims reported being intimidated into not making or dropping complaints, being harassed if they persisted, and assailants getting off scot-free. National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

  

Parliamentary Calendar
Thursday, August 28, 2014
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Remembering Devon Jacobs Aug. 19, 2014

The Hill Times photo by Jake Wright

Devon Jacobs, right, with Monte Solberg and Jim Armour at the 2012 Manning Networking Conference.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Devon Jacobs with Liberal MP Scott Simms.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Devon Jacobs with former colleague Jim Patrick, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Liberal MP Mauril Belanger at the 2013 all-party party.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Devon Jacobs, centre, with Conservative MPs (from left) Susan Truppe, Colin Carrie, Ted Opitz, Lynne Yelich and Eve Adams.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE