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Military Marred by ‘Sexualized Culture,' Report Concludes

April 30, 2015 - A recent report into the sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces found a clear disconnect between the military’s policies and principles and the actual reality faced by its members on a daily basis.  The report was based on discussions with 700 CAF members of varying ranks across the country. 

A key finding of the report was the widespread perception that the CAF not only permits a culture of sexually inappropriate conduct but fosters it, specifically amongst women and homosexual members. Women, in particular, were found to suffer from degrading expressions, sexual jokes and unwelcome touching leading to inappropriate relationships between males and females of differing ranks.   The report found that many cases are not reported for fear of retaliation by peers, being seen as ‘weak’ and ultimately negatively affecting their ability to move up the ranks.   Sexual slurs and rape jokes are commonplace, and women are frequently referred to as “ice princesses”, “bitches”, or “sluts”. 

“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,” the report said. “At the most serious extreme, these reports of sexual violence highlighted the use of sex to enforce power relationships and to punish and ostracize a member of a unit.”

According to the report, most men do not believe these jokes or references to be harassing and women coming into the Armed Forces should “know what to expect.”  Harassment training is virtually non-existent or at the very least ineffective as it is mocked at and lost by members, which further perpetuates the view that the CAF does not take harassment seriously, according to the report.

Isn’t it enough that our own armed forces members put their lives on the line everyday for our country – should they have to sacrifice their dignity as well?

For the full report, click here.


While we are on the subject, have you heard the latest government initiative? There are new sexual harassment laws coming to Ontario workplaces very soon!  


On March 6, 2015, the Ontario government released It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. The Action Plan outlines the government’s proposals to raise public awareness and strengthen laws combatting sexual violence and harassment. Recommended changes include those to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to deal with workplace sexual harassment which will have a significant impact on employers as newer, stricter obligations will be enforced.

It's Never Okay is part of the government's plan to provide more security, protection and equal opportunity for all Ontarians. It will help ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety and is free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment.


A copy of the Action Plan can be found at: http://www.ontario.ca/document/action-plan-stop-sexual-violence-and-harassment

 


On the same day the plan was released, a powerful anti-sexual violence ad hit you-tube and went viral.  Have you seen it? It’s called, “Who will you help?”



The ad is part of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s efforts to reform the way Ontario treats sexual harassment. Calling the ad, ‘a road map to end sexual harassment’, Wynne is challenging everyone in the province to step up and help end sexual harassment. If you witness an act of sexual violence or harassment, you can always do something to help.  The ads can now be seen in commercials during regular Canadian programming.

Click here to view the ad.


Did you know?

Sexual violence is more common than you think…

  • One in three women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime. In fact, statistics indicate that 39% of women report having experienced at least one incident of sexual assault since the age of 16 (1993).
  • Sexual assault victimization rates are five times higher for women under the age of 35
  • 28 per cent of Canadians say they have been on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or sexually-charged talk while on the job.

 

Sources: cbc.ca; Statistics Canada; news.ontario.ca


Bill 168, Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, became law in Ontario on June 15th, 2010.  Is your organization in compliance? Are there workplace violence and harassment policies in place?  Have you reviewed risk assessments? Conducted training?  If you answered no to one of these questions, we can help.  Contact HR Performance & Results today!

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