Compare this to General Lawson's stance on sexual harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces.

If you're a General, politician, business leader, whatever, you had better be able to give better answers than 'we're wired biologically [to behave in unprofessional manners]'.

The problem I have is this: I served in the Canadian Military for eleven years. I joined when I was sixteen as a reservist and transitioned to the Regular Force when I was seventeen. My time in the reserves saw sexual harassment policies taken seriously enough that to harass was considered taboo. Also, I don't recall any particular instances of sexual harassment during my time in the reserves.

The Regular Force, on the other hand, was ripe with it. I went to RMC between 2005 and 2009, graduating in May of that year while Tom Lawson was the Commandant. He was a very popular Commandant within the cadet population because of his stance on bringing the culture back to RMC (through funny pranks [Skylarking], and traditions like the college uniform being modernized). However, RMC did have a serious problem with sexual harassment and assault. Homosexuals were frequently ostracized and harassed through rumours, social isolation and discrimination. I know several openly gay men who did not last long between first and second year. Although this was a known issue, the College Chain of Command did nothing to prevent it. Likewise, several women reported being raped or sexually assaulted during my time there, one of which was a friend of mine. Despite that criminal investigations were launched, the victims were ostracized, socially isolated and discriminated against. Again, the College Chain of Command did nothing to prevent the victims from being harassed, nothing to quell the rumors, and eventually these women dropped out of RMC or transitioned to other universities due to their lack of comfort or support.

So, I graduated and went on to my career courses in the Fleet. What I saw there was beyond disturbing. It was shockingly common for women to be propositioned in the workplace. And I'm not talking about 'let's grab a drink later', I have heard everything from 'we should fuck' to 'I would fuck you just to hurt you'. And those are often supervisors to subordinates, or higher to lower rank.

I myself was sexually assaulted/raped by a homosexual 'friend' of mine, a fellow naval officer, after I had a weird reaction to something I drank [I was probably drugged but can't prove it]. When I went forward to the Military Police, they told me over the phone a few months later they didn't have enough evidence to prosecute so they wouldn't pursue charges, and that was that. The military psychologist I was sent to told me to 'have a good fantasy every now and again where you kill the son of a bitch, don't act on it and I don't want to see you back here.' My attacker was later released administratively after he couldn't remuster to another trade and went on to find a job as teaching assistant at a major Canadian university. He still puts 'proud Canadian Naval Veteran' on his resume, according to sources.

I, meanwhile, continued with my military career until I developed PTSD and was pulled from a career course for having flashbacks while in practical simulations. I was forced out of the trade, forces to relinquish my Commission, and demoted to Corporal. I was then remustered to a trade I didn't really want (had been forced to choose on short notice), and posted to a new base in a different part of the province on 19 days notice.

Now, the new base was a shit show. My new Chain of Command initially viewed me as a problem child with an attitude because I was a former officer and graduate of RMC, so I got a lot of flak behind closed doors. Eventually, I was able to etch out a niche and began receiving proper mental health treatment. During this process I finally mustered up the courage to apply for a copy of the Military Police report through Access to Information, and lo and behold, the Military Police investigation concludes that I initiated the 'promiscuous behaviour' with my attacker.

My mental health team eventually decided that I was unfit for further service (they're right), and I was medically released this past spring.

Where does that leave me? Pretty bitter, obviously. But more so because now tales of sexual abuse and harassment are becoming mainstreamed in the media, and here is our Chief of Defence Staff running his ignorant mouth about 'biological wiring'. Fuck that. We're biologically wired to do all sorts of things. That's the animal in us. But, we're better than that. We're supposed to be professionals, and professionals behave professionally. For an organization that tries to push the 'Profession of Arms' and the 'Code of Defence Ethics' the Canadian Armed Forces sure does fuck up the execution. And to me, this Aussie Genral does it right. He addresses the issue professionally, concisely and directly. He's a professional, he wants to work with professionals, and it shows. If the Canadian military wants to actually tackle the issues it is facing with sexual assault and harassment, it needs to take a page from the Australian Army's playbook. By even bringing 'biological wiring' into the equation it effectively makes trying to stop it seem like too great of an effort, dismisses the complaints of victims and witnesses, and legitimizes the actions of perpetrators as nature. It leaves a very sour taste in my mouth, and only ads to the frustrations I already hold regarding the military's ability to manage its own affairs. Saying that it's biological wiring is the modern equivalent to 'let them eat cake'. It shows that (literally) the top brass doesn't understand the real problem. The problem is complacency, and the complacency needs to end.

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