Report Reaffirms Existence of Military Sex Assaults against Women, Gays

A fiery report published by former Supreme Court judge, Marie Deschamps, on Thursday has highlighted that the Canadian military has an “underlying sexual culture” that is “hostile” to women and members of the gay community, leaving the victims of sexual assaults and harassments to fend for themselves. The report hopes to finally shake the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to its core and bring in a new set of changes and most prominently equality and respect for all men and women in uniform.

Deschamps launched the review in April 2014 on the military’s request after an investigation by Maclean’s magazine last year revealed a large number of sexual assault cases in the armed forces that had been ignored or downplayed. Even though the report was completed at the end of March, it was not released until just now. Deschamps interviewed hundreds of full- and part-time military personnel including commanding officers, military police, chaplains, nurses and support group representatives in the making of her report. Majority of the interviews were conducted on a confidentiality basis.

In the conclusion, Deschamps’s report pointed out that the consultations revealed a “hostile sexualized environment” in the military, especially among recruits and the junior ranks, including frequent swearing, derogatory remarks that referenced women’s bodies, sexual jokes, innuendo and “unwelcome sexual touching.” The report stressed that “cumulatively, such conduct creates an environment that is hostile to women and LGTBQ members, and is conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault.”

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