Female members of the Canadian Armed Forces face greater harm than the enemy, report says

Female members of the Canadian Armed Forces face greater harm than the enemy, report says

According to a report on sexual violence in the Canadian military, a Canadian military comrades face greater harm than from the enemy, according to a report by the Canadian Armed Forces CAF Called the Arbour after its author, Louise Arbour. The document details the many failures of the CAF over the years to address misogyny, discrimination, sexual violence and trauma experienced predominantly by female members of the military.

When thinking about culture change in response to the sexual misconduct crisis, the CAF leadership seems to have been incapable of examining which aspects of its culture have been the most deficient, wrote Arbour in her report.

One of the dangers of the model under which the CAF continues to operate is the high likelihood that some of its members are more at risk of harm than from their comrades, she wrote.

The Arbour report is the third large study commissioned to examine sexual violence that has been a fixture in the Canadian military for decades, including allegations of misconduct against a string of senior officers.

Navy veteran Dawn McIlmoyle was 19 when she was raped by a fellow sailor in 1992 while a second man looked on, laughing.

When I came forward, they charged me under the National Defence Act for being on the male floor, which I was taken to, she told the Guardian. The infraction remains on her record.

McIlmoyle left the navy a year later, and has been an advocate for victims of sexual violence in the military since she left her PTSD from the rape.

McIlmoyle welcomed the recommendations of the Arbour, which include abolishing the term sexual misconduct because it neutralises violence and abuse, and turning sexual assault cases over to civilian courts, as well as turning sexual assault cases over to civilian courts, and said that the CAF has already had many opportunities to change, without any results to show for it.

She also questioned whether civilian police and courts would do a better job of prosecuting allegations of rape and other sexual violence.

She said a lot of Ontario police chiefs have turned around and said they don't want this responsibility to be transferred onto us. She warned of the low one-in- 10 rate of success at successfully prosecuting rape charges, and the problem of sexual violence within police ranks, that the civilian system might not yield more equitable results.

Major Donna Van Leusden Riguidel said she was guarded by the potential impact of the Arbour report, but echoed McIlmoyle's concerns about the CAF's ability to change.

In March when Van Leusden Riguidel retired from the Canadian military, she received a public admonisement for developing a course to change the culture of sexual violence and trauma in the military.

A few days before receiving her commendation, she received a letter from the CAF cancelling the course, after she trained only 1,900 CAF members of the 100,000 or so across the military.

Van Leusden Riguidel told the Guardian that the military may not have created the problem of sexual violence in its ranks, but it did have to take responsibility for recruiting sexual predators, who exist across society. She said there isn't an integrated military in the world that doesn't struggle with this exact issue.

The onus has always fallen on female CAF members to prevent violence through attempts to make themselves less rapeable, she said.

Van Leusden Riguidel said the CAF still needs a sweeping overhaul and expressed hopes that the Arbour report will allow for a shift to implementing measures to change the culture. This isn't a women's problem. This is a human problem, she said. We all have a role to play.