Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sexual crimes in the military

I am completely unsurprised by the ordeal faced by this woman.
A former military corporal who said she faced reprisals after accusing a superior of sexual assault feels vindicated after the Canadian Armed Forces extended an apology and reparations to her. St├ęphanie Raymond said the outcome will have positive repercussions, particularly for women as well as for some men serving in the Canadian military.
I haven't met a woman in the armed forces who hasn't faced assault or harrassment to one degree or another. It's been nearly 20 years since the military took steps following Somalia and other scandals to end this despicable kind of bullshit. However, little has changed and sexual assault and harrasment, overwhelmingly but not exclusively against women, is still an abject problem.

Women leaving the armed forces I've met in recent years uniformly cite this as their reason for leaving. Many have stories of a passively defective or an outright hostile chain of command when they've sought redress.  Some just get fucking sick of it.

The issue, perhaps, might be the very nature of the armed forces. It is a legacy institution, patterned and born of another era, organised in a rigid hierarchy, insular, with deeply embedded traditions and norms, very interested in protecting and perpetuating itself. Strong parallels, I think, between the armed forces and that other institution where sexual crimes are rampant.


Kim said...

Yes. I had a PO in Esquimalt who referred to me as "Split ass". He never lost an opportunity to belittle me. Had a Chief at Royal Roads who hated women, he would play pocket pool when he talked to the young male cooks. Creepy, disgusting, and not condusive to a healthy workplace. I thought at the time it was a byproduct of the smaller gene pool in recruiting during prosperous times. I guess I was wrong, it seems to be just as bad now. It's a patriarical culture of linear power over and rape is a torture tactic used often by military culture.

Kim said...

PS. I also had some stellar NCO's that backed up the rank and file and were completely supportive regardless of gender.

Purple library guy said...

Not to mention parallels with that other, other institution (prison) where sexual crimes are rampant.