Army sexual misconduct ‘a nationwide embarrassment’: advocate

The prevalence of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces and the current high-profile instances involving senior leaders is a “nationwide embarrassment,” says a outstanding survivor advocate.

Christine Wooden, a former Air Pressure reservist, survivor of army sexual trauma and co-chair of It is Simply 700, instructed the Home of Commons’ standing of girls committee on Thursday that the issue is deeply systemic and too typically silenced.

“Our collective Canadian conscience has been hit onerous by the current high-profile allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour by our most senior leaders. It’s outrageous that two chiefs of defence have confronted allegations inside weeks of one another, nevertheless it’s much more outrageous to simply accept that 1,600 individuals report a sexual assault on common yearly throughout the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF),” she stated.

Army police launched an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations in opposition to former Chief of Defence Workers Gen. Jonathan Vance in early February, following his retirement. CTV Information has not independently verified the allegations. Vance’s successor, Admiral Artwork McDonald, can also be below investigation.

The Liberal authorities is dealing with criticism for its dealing with of the Vance allegation upon listening to about it as early as March, 2018, nonetheless an investigation into his behaviour following “rumours” of an inappropriate relationship started in 2015, when he was first appointed defence chief.

Testimony earlier than the standing of girls and defence committees, each of that are finding out the problem, has centred on how Vance and different senior leaders rose to the highest of the chain of command with a historical past of alleged sexual misconduct, how tough and complicated the reporting course of is for members, and what tradition change ought to appear like.

Wooden stated she welcomes the suggestion of an unbiased physique to analyze sexual misconduct allegations, as too many studies aren’t acted on.

“I consider that if there was an unbiased place, separate from the CAF, the place people can report an assault, it may be investigated, it may be tracked, and a sufferer might have an advocate all through the entire course of, that will assist them immensely,” she stated.

Wooden added that, whereas Operation HONOUR – instituted by Vance in 2015 to boost consciousness of sexual misconduct within the Forces – did carry the dialog out of the shadows, it didn’t establish the issue and restore the “sexualized” cultural at play.

Extra to return…

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