All posts tagged sexual assaults in Canadian Forces

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

National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, and General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff

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. The Minister of National Defense immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

Even I was surprised. The figures must be too high, I thought. They mean that a little over 2.6% of members would be assaulted in any given year – a rate about two times higher than that estimated for the general public, depending what figures are used. But a review of statistics from the U.S. and a lengthy conversation with a journalist convinced me that it was accurate. I also recalled a conversation with a colleague who said that he believed every woman in the Forces deals with either serious sexual harassment or assault at some point.

The military brass cannot have been surprised – or, if they were, they were negligent.… Read the rest

Media Update for November 5, 2010

The issue of pensions and compensation for wounded veterans keeps coming back into the news, no doubt to the chagrin of the Harper government. Today I have tow stories on this front: one about a demonstration to be held at Parliament Hill in Ottawa (and, apparently, at other locations across Canada). The other is a more personal story – yet another – about abuse of a vet by the bureaucracy at the Department of Veterans Affairs. If the government really wants this issue to go away, then maybe they should spend less time spinning media lines and more time improving the compensation plan and punishing departmental officials involved in reprisals against Sean Bruyea and other critics.

I also have two stories about the non-performance of agencies in Ottawa that are supposed to be oversight agencies. It appears that a few these agencies are doing absolutely nothing – well, at least nothing to do with their mandates – instead satisfying themselves with nice trips and other perks. One agency even went so far, it is alleged, as to destroy records to hide this fact.

Similarly, there’s a story out of the US that says that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is responsible for overseeing whistleblower protection for about 200 million workers, has also not being its job.… Read the rest