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Alleged rape survivor asks why 'the military's judging their own' in possible voyeurism case at Toronto base

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Top general issues orders to drum out sexual offenders

Post by Guest on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 05:56

Top general issues orders to drum out sexual offenders

Canada’s top general has sent a formal order to make good on his goal that anyone guilty of sexual misconduct will be forced out of the military.

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, has made clear he doesn't want perpetrators in uniform.

Fri., Jan. 13, 2017

OTTAWA—Canada’s top general has issued a formal order to make good on his goal that anyone guilty of sexual misconduct should be drummed out of the military.

In a directive, Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, says that despite his orders that inappropriate sexual behaviour must stop, “there are those in the (Canadian Armed Forces) who continue to fail to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with that order.”

The directive, issued to military personnel just before Christmas, makes clear that anyone who engages in sexual misconduct is putting their careers at risk.

“I hereby direct that all CAF (members) found guilty of sexual misconduct . . . either by summary trial, court martial or civilian court, shall be issued with a notice of intent to recommend release,” Vance says in the Dec. 16 order.

It would apply to all incidents that happened after Jan. 1, 2016, according to the order.

Rear Adm. Jennifer Bennett, director general of the military’s strategic response team on sexual misconduct, stressed that even before this latest directive, inappropriate sexual conduct could end a military member’s career.

But she said Vance’s directive serves to reinforce ongoing efforts to reduce harassment, abuse and assault in the ranks.

“This is part of a larger deterrent effort, prevention, awareness,” Bennett said in an interview. “This is one method of communicating the seriousness and the direction, right from the top.”

The notice of intent to release triggers an administrative review, a process that gives a military member a chance to “plead their case,” Bennett said.

“A member can make representation and a decision will be made but there are many career actions that can be taken, including and up to release,” she said.

Bennett also noted the military can also take administrative action against personnel in cases where the evidence was not strong enough to secure a criminal conviction.

A “notice of intent” can be filed in cases where there was no trial but a commander felt conduct was “not appropriate” and violated orders, she said.

“That’s one of the advantages we have in the military over the civilian system,” Bennett said.

The military has consolidated those administrative reviews to ensure consistent handling and outcomes, said Col. Paul Fuller, of the directorate of military careers administration.

“We will analyze the file and make a decision in relation to what administrative actions we’ll be taking for each member,” Fuller said.

“This is to ensure consistency of approach and procedural fairness,” he said.

Between April and November last year, three members of the military were released following courts martial or summary trials related to inappropriate sexual behaviour and another 29 were released after administrative reviews. A further 26 reviews were ongoing at the time.

As well, five military members had been removed from command and 26 others removed from supervisory or instructor positions—13 were temporary during ongoing investigations and 18 were permanent.

The military has been grappling with the issue of sexual misconduct, a problem underscored by the 2015 investigation by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps who found an “underlying sexualized” culture that is “hostile” to women as well as lesbian, gay, transgendered, bi-sexual and queer members.

Vance took over the top job a few months after Deschamps’ report and one of his first acts was to launch OP Honour, a military-wide effort to stamp out inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Yet the disturbing results of a Statistics Canada survey of military personnel released in November revealed that more work needs to be done. The survey found that nearly 1,000 members said they had been the victims of sexual assault over the past year. The misconduct ranged from unwanted sexual touching to attacks and sexual activity without consent.

At the time, Vance expressed disappointment that inappropriate behaviour was continuing despite his orders. He voiced a renewed commitment to seek out the perpetrators and made clear he didn’t want them in uniform.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy if they leave our ranks permanently,” he said.


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Alleged rape survivor asks why 'the military's judging their own' in possible voyeurism case at Toronto base

Post by Guest on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 17:26

Alleged rape survivor asks why 'the military's judging their own' in possible voyeurism case at Toronto base

Dawn McIlmoyle-Knott worries case will dissuade other victimized soldiers from coming forward
By Shanifa Nasser, CBC News Posted: Jan 07, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 07, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Dawn McIlmoyle-Knott formally left the military in September 1993 after a male colleague allegedly raped her. But a case of alleged voyeurism at a Toronto military reported on earlier this week has her worried that little has changed in the organization.

As military police investigate allegations of voyeurism against a soldier at one of its facilities in Toronto, a former member of the military who alleges she was sexually assaulted during her time with the Canadian Forces says these kinds of investigations should be carried out by an independent body.

Dawn McIlmoyle-Knott formally left the Canadian Forces in September 1993 after she says a male colleague raped her. Five years later, she was awarded 60 per cent of a military pension after the Veterans Review and Appeal Board acknowledged that the Forces did not do all it should have to help her recover from what it called a "traumatic event."

But while her last day of service was more than two decades ago, McIlmoyle-Knott said the case reported on by CBC Toronto earlier this week has her worried that little has changed in the organization.

"After seven months, they haven't got to the bottom of it when they have the phone?" said McIlmoyle-Knott. "This should have been taken care of absolutely immediately."

Suspect should be fired: former soldier

In June, a female soldier found a smartphone planted inside a third-floor women's change room of the military facility in Toronto's Downsview area, which CBC Toronto reported on Wednesday. Phones and recording devices are strictly prohibited on that floor, according to a source in the Forces.

That same source told CBC Toronto that the female soldier immediately handed the device over to a senior officer.

In an emailed statement to CBC Toronto, Maj. Cynthia Larue confirmed "that a member of the Canadian Armed Forces is currently the subject of an investigation by the Canadian Forces Military Police in relation to a report of alleged voyeurism at a defence establishment in Toronto."

"I don't think that's right because the military's judging their own."
- Dawn McIlmoyle-Knott, former military member

But McIlmoyle-Knott said she's concerned because the solider who is the suspect in the incident has been allowed to continue serving.

In November 2016, Canada's top solider Chief of Defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance vowed to punish or expel all abusive perpetrators from the military after a survey by Statistics Canada found that 960 full-time members, or some 1.7 per cent of the regular force, reported sexual assault in the previous year.

The survey also found 79 per cent of members in the regular force saw, heard or personally experienced "inappropriate sexualized behaviour" during the previous year, including inappropriate verbal or non-verbal communication, sexually explicit material, unwanted contact or suggested sexual relationships.

More than 43,000 military members voluntarily took part in the survey.

"If there's a zero-tolerance policy then [Vance] should stick to what he says and he should have that man fired," McIlmoyle-Knott said.

For her, the fact that the soldier remains with the Forces is "a sign that things haven't changed and it kind of seems that they aren't serious about what General Vance said in December."

'Military's judging their own'

In a statement to CBC Toronto, the military said it takes all allegations seriously and that, in every case, investigations are conducted to determine the facts, analyze the evidence and, if warranted, pursue appropriate charges.

But McIlmoyle-Knott says the Forces has long been "a men's club" and that an outside body should be brought in to probe allegations of sexual harassment or assault.

The alleged voyeurism case occurred at a facility in the Downsview area, CBC Toronto learned earlier this week.

"I don't think that's right because the military's judging their own," she said. "I think something like that should be outside the military jurisdiction. It should be a civilian process."

In 2015, Vance moved to implement Operation Honour, a 10-step plan to eliminate sexual assault and harassment inside the military following a report by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps that found sexual misconduct was "endemic" inside the Forces.

Vance's predecessor, Gen. Tom Lawson, fed into the perception of indifference in the military by attributing sexual harassment to the "biological wiring" of soldiers — comments he quickly apologized for.

The December announcement was welcome news to McIllmoyle-Knott, but she remains wary about whether any actual change will result from it and worries women will continue to suffer in silence.

"A lot of women come forward and they're not believed. And they're questioned, they're victimized and they're revictimized over and over again about what happened to them."

"I know all too well."


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