Author Topic: Hazing thrives in organizations obsessed with conformity... - CBC Opinion  (Read 10774 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BeyondTheNow

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 64,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,093
Speaking as a former Instructor at CFLRS (I've been gone from CFLRS for over a decade), I'd like to make a point;  IF you're told "Don't worry it has been taken care of", or words to that effect, I suggest you do follow up.  If there was no 'words' from the Platoon Staff, including the Platoon Officer, to the entire course if/when something like this has been reported, that is usually a decent indicator the staff do not know about it.  If people are not being 'interviewed/questioned' by staff, that could also be an indicator that staff do not know.  If an incident is alleged to have happened, usually actions will be taken (informally and/or formally) to determine what happened, who was involved, is administrative and/or disciplinary warranted, should a UDI be ordered/MPs contacted, etc.  If you're not sure if it was reported and you feel it is something that should be, ask to talk to your staff, NCOs, Officer, someone.

We will continue to have this crap in the CAF as long as it exists in Canadian society, where we recruit from.  Personally, I've not seen or heard of anything like this in many years.

It is unfortunate the Duty NCO didn't go thru your Sector while this was happening, BTN.

I wonder, back in my day, if a bunch of guys ganged up on a weaker kid, they'd usually be the ones that were told to back off or they'd suffer some actual consequences.  I've seen more than one kid when I was back in Elementary or Junior High get a shitkicking for picking on someone weaker than them.  Bullies, some of them at least, learned lessons the hard way back then.  Nowadays, it's about 'using your words' and softer approaches. 

I wonder if that bites us in the *** as a society now...

Thank you for the insight. I did, eventually, figure out your point ref reporting while there, but only after time had passed, unfortunately.

As well, I honestly could never figure out how effective reporting an incident was. Ideally, I think we all understand how things should flow once the staff is made aware. But in notable instances, in my experience at least, it didn’t turn out that way. And more often then not, people ended up choosing not to report at all.

Unfortunately, I will admit that I’m negatively biased towards CFLRS due to my experiences while there (for far too long). I gained a great deal of knowledge and insight, and experienced far more than most do. To a degree I’m thankful. There were some things I look back on fondly, but not many. What I shared was only scratching the surface.

Offline BeyondTheNow

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 64,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,093
You are trying to change human nature which is impossible btw.  The CAF goes to great lengths to prevent these sorts of incidents but we aren't miracle workers and we aren't going to catch them all.

I don’t feel I’m trying to change human nature. I’m very aware of what’s out there via certain areas of employment before CAF and having the personal experiences I have in my background. I do feel, however, that I’m trying to make others more aware of behaviours still occurring. As I mentioned earlier, I zeroed in on thoughts expressed from those who didn’t think any problems exist at all.

Offline Jarnhamar

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 286,926
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 10,722
The guy was a PAFFO after a brief stint as a Inf Pl Comd, career reservist. His bio never indicates any Middle East deployment, but as a PAFFO he went to Haiti and Rwanda, likely on TAVs.

Full bio (news article format) here: https://militarybruce.com/journalist-soldier-comes-full-circle-2/

Possible. I'm sure you're picking up what I'm laying down about the picture. Not a big deal, just a curiosity.

I remember church services but they never were mandatory for us or much pressure.
Drinking in the mess? Lots of harassment if you didn't drink booze. I'd like to say mess life is different now but if you spend 3 months away from your family and the day you hey home there's a mess function guess what, you're going to the mess.

Proud to say there's no bullshit hazing or abuse in my infantry battalion.

Btn that's a messed up story. Maybe I should get a posting over there and sort that place out.
There are no wolves on Fenris

Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 919,220
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,163
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage


Btn that's a messed up story. Maybe I should get a posting over there and sort that place out.

Unless you'd be going as the RSM, don't waste your time. There's a terrible culture at CFLRS that chews up and spits out competent instructors. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt but that would take some wholesale top down postings.

Offline Old Sweat

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 217,815
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,796
I won't get too deep into the issue, other than to say the day I became an officer cadet in 1961 and was welcomed into the officers' mess in 4 RCHA, one of the battery commanders, who was a very heavy drinker, advised me to watch the booze. I also served with officers who did not drink, and no one every questioned if they merited the Queen's commission.

And a hallowed part of our creed was that we never discussed religion, along with politics and women by name. Being young, single officers, you can guess which of the three we tended to observe less scrupulously.

Offline BeyondTheNow

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 64,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,093

Unless you'd be going as the RSM, don't waste your time. There's a terrible culture at CFLRS that chews up and spits out competent instructors. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt but that would take some wholesale top down postings.

This is absolutely true.

I watched some of my favourites deteriorate to varying degrees over my time arriving and my time officially leaving approx 15mths later. They became visibly, negatively affected.

(As a side note: If this happens to some fully-trained, qualified and competent members, imagine what it does to recruits who are literally stuck there long-term.   :-\ )
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 23:32:24 by BeyondTheNow »

Offline Tcm621

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 11,895
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 727
I’m kind of a bit taken aback by some of the posts in this thread. It sounds as though just because one didn’t experience it personally or hear about it, it must not be happening.

Let me tell you a story from CFLRS that happened within the last 5yrs. I won’t narrow down the date any further. I’ve been starting and stopping this post repeatedly since reading some of the responses. There’s absolutely no logical way that I’m the only one who’s come across scenarios such as the one I’m about to share, or other instances of disgusting behaviour.

There was a male on my pl who was the stereotypical nerd or geek one might envision. We’ll call him “Stan.” Stan was tall, lanky—skin and bone, bad acne, glasses, kept to himself—he was a computer junkie. ‘Very smart and kind when someone took the time to interact with him though. He had zero PO failures—he kept up with everyone and pulled his weight as expected. He wasn’t a TC by any means, but he could be depended upon.

One evening after we’d been dismissed for the day, closer to lights out, a couple of guys came running to the girls area of the floor. We were in green sector, 7th floor. We were still on Indoc. (The males & females were divided by a white shower curtain suspended from a removable shower rod. The guys were yelling...panicked. Our first reaction was to tell them off because they were in our area and a few of us were in various stages of undress. This wasn’t allowed and if duty staff caught you while doing their rounds there’d usually be annoyingly inconvenient consequences for the pl and/or persons.) Anyway, once we realized something wasn’t right, we heard the details. A bunch of guys had teamed up on Stan, held him down and drew swasticas on his face in marker. They had been physically aggressive towards him also, all in the name of “fun”, on more than one occasion. By all accounts he had done nothing to anyone on the pl. We were even told he actually WAS Jewish, but the aggressors didn’t know that at the time. I can’t confirm that fact though. Apparently the guys were laughing hysterically while they did it—they thought it was just hilarious. We were shocked. Myself and another older female on the pl talked about reporting it to staff asap, but were told it already had been. I never followed up, I don’t know if anyone else did. And I regret it. This is not a joke. This is an event that actually took place. I spoke to Stan the next day just to say hello. Remnants of faint marker were still on his face. I never heard of any repercussions. There was another individual on the pl who had a similar MO and he and Stan were friends. He didn’t get picked on quite as much though. I don’t know if Stan is still serving.

This was, by far, not the only incident that crossed a line I either witnessed and/or knew about.

The op ed may have been his personal thoughts and perspectives. And maybe events are out of date. And maybe things aren’t as bad as they once were. But to deny that there’s still a problem, either during BMQ or after training altogether, is sticking one’s head in the sand.

I think that would be bullying rather than hazing. Either way it sucked for this kid and any one who thinks ganging up on a kid and draw swastikas on his forehead would be on the receiving end of a beating if I had my way.

With all that said, let me give an example of something that may have seemed unacceptable but really worked out for the best. I was on course with my own "Stan". Nice guy but a bit of a nerd. He dressed like a nerd, he talked like a nerd and when I first met him, I would have said he had no place in the military. I actually told him I was offended by his presence when he gave up after like 4 push ups. I rode that kid hard but he refused to give up. He practiced push ups every day, asked for help with drill (and actually practiced) and helped his section at every opportunity. Pretty soon he was keeping up for runs, passing his express test and just trying harder than virtually everyone else.

One of my favourite moments in my career was watching conquer the wall on an obstacle course. He had yet to succeed up to this point but he hung on to that thing looking like a monkey trying to hump a football. I ran up to the wall and started screaming at him to get over the wall. It was like a training montages in a movie. When he finally made it over the course went nuts because everyone recognized how hard he had worked. I couldn't have been more proud of him and I think he ld him so.

He never did up going into the trade he joined (which he was completely unsuited for) but he continued on and was successful. More importantly we all loved him because he had heart. We rode him and he responded. He is, in all probability, a better man for that experience. He thanked me for motivating him and helping him. That is the key, I think. If you are going to come aboard someone for being a crap pump, be prepared to help him if he asks. Riding someone who is not performing isn't always a bad thing but it has to be done right. The goal is to get someone to improve not quit.

Offline Remius

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 107,495
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,237

The points I zeroed in on from posts are the ones intimating that nothing nefarious is taking place, either ritual, bullying, or otherwise, at the recruit and/or training level and beyond.


I went back and read every post and didn't get that from anyone.  No one here in this thread has intimated that at all.

There is some disagreement on whether it is "Thriving" and some questions about the author's arguments and perspective.  But no one said it isn't happening.
Optio

Offline BeyondTheNow

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 64,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,093
I went back and read every post and didn't get that from anyone.  No one here in this thread has intimated that at all.

There is some disagreement on whether it is "Thriving" and some questions about the author's arguments and perspective.  But no one said it isn't happening.

Agreed. I went back and read also. I also agree with the points made to me/my post earlier about hazing and bullying being different. And in retrospect I’ve most certainly been coming from the angle of bullying more so than hazing, which sheds more light on why certain statements stuck out to me. There are 3 specific segments which caught my attention and prompted my post. All of which in one way or another seemed to downplay the possibility of certain behaviours taking place. But seeing as I agree that I wasn’t looking at the issue strictly from a hazing point of view, (and more so from a bullying standpoint—and I developed tunnel vision to a degree there) which is the point of the original article, it’s moot.

Offline Remius

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 107,495
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,237
Optio

Offline Eye In The Sky

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 217,050
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,677
    • VP INTERNATIONAL
There's a terrible culture at CFLRS

This was certainly true when I was there (2006/07 timeframe).  I can't speak for present day, but of all the places I was glad to leave, this one would be at the top of my list.
Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline FSTO

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 48,155
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,743
Is it true that the building is based on a prison design? That's what I heard when I was incarcerated there in 1990 for 6 months of language training! LOL!

I'm convinced that the Mega is the source of everything wrong in CFLRS to this day. No wonder there is such a toxic culture there.

Wasn't that place built in the 70's? How much LSD laced food were the architects eating in those days? God there was some bad decisions in that decade!

Offline garb811

  • MP/MPO Question Answerer
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 79,945
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,527
I think that would be bullying rather than hazing.
...
Again, this was NOT bullying, it was Assault. People need to stop minimizing the actions of what goes on around them by trying to attribute things to "bullying" or "sexual harassment" simply because those are the easy outs and the flavour of the day.

Just to make it super clear:

Quote
Assault

    265 (1) A person commits an assault when

        (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;

        (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or

        (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

    Marginal note:Application

    (2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

    Marginal note:Consent

    (3) For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of

        (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;

        (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;

        (c) fraud; or

        (d) the exercise of authority.

Bullying is what you did to "your own Stan" when you told him you were offended by his presence when I presume you were his DS. Toxic leadership 101, notwithstanding that he carried on and finished. What kind of opening did you give to the other candidates on that course if/when they heard you say that? Think they might have thought it was fair game to go after "Stan" the same way you did?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 12:19:25 by garb811 »

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 169,715
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 15,196
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Again, this was NOT bullying, it was Assault.

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.  Bullying as a concept can manifest itself in a variety of criminal acts - assault, harassment, unlawful confinement.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Haggis

  • "There ain't no hat badge on a helmet!"
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 62,090
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,747
  • "Oh, what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich!"
Again, this was NOT bullying, it was Assault. People need to stop minimizing the actions of what goes on around them by trying to attribute things to "bullying" or "sexual harassment" simply because those are the easy outs and the flavour of the day.

While undergoing command team level Operation HONOUR cascade training, we reviewed the scenario where the male member forcibly and angrily grabs his female partner by the arm and shakes her in the mess.  Most present went towards the "bullying" or "harassment" answer.  When I pointed out that this was Assault as per CCC 256 (1)a, I was greeted with looks of incredulity and "that can't be!".  The idea that this member in the scenario had committed a criminal offence, in addition to violating the Operation HONOUR directive was beyond almost all present.
Train like your life depends on it.  Some day, it may.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 169,715
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 15,196
  • Honey Badger FTW!
I'm not sure why - perhaps its blinders?  If some kid at school punches my kid in the face, its clearly bullying, in the form of assault.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Haggis

  • "There ain't no hat badge on a helmet!"
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 62,090
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,747
  • "Oh, what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich!"
I'm not sure why - perhaps its blinders?  If some kid at school punches my kid in the face, its clearly bullying, in the form of assault.

Definitely assault.  Bullying may be harder to prove unless there is a pattern of actions (physical, psychological etc.) by an individual or group aimed at a specific individual.
Train like your life depends on it.  Some day, it may.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 139,445
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,622
In Haggis' scenario, I am surprised nobody intimated that it would also constitute a service offence that should attract a charge.

I am less surprised, however, when I consider that in my career, most people I have observed (at least in the Navy) were always recalcitrant where the laying of charges was concerned and somehow always preferred to deal with arising situations by the use of administrative measures - vice disciplinary ones. In my mind, it would tend to minimize the "inappropriate" character of many types of acts I have witnessed.

Offline daftandbarmy

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 235,925
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,424
  • The Older I Get, The Better I Was

It is unfortunate the Duty NCO didn't go thru your Sector while this was happening, BTN.


That's probably the nugget right there.

'Single men (or women) in barracks don't grow into plaster saints', indeed. Having an NCO physically located in the accommodation during the evening hours to address crimes like this is critical IMHO. I assume that it's not always possible, however, due to manning issues.

BTN, good for you in coming forward and complaining. It takes alot of guts, and not everyone has them in that measure  :salute:
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Haggis

  • "There ain't no hat badge on a helmet!"
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 62,090
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,747
  • "Oh, what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich!"
In Haggis' scenario, I am surprised nobody intimated that it would also constitute a service offence that should attract a charge.
That discussion followed as the option of laying a charge under NDA 130 was brought out.

I am less surprised, however, when I consider that in my career, most people I have observed (at least in the Navy) were always recalcitrant where the laying of charges was concerned and somehow always preferred to deal with arising situations by the use of administrative measures - vice disciplinary ones. In my mind, it would tend to minimize the "inappropriate" character of many types of acts I have witnessed.
This has been my experience as well.  Many still believe that disciplinary measures (i.e. charges/convictions) are more damaging to a member's career than administrative actions when, in fact, the reverse is true.  One can always get a record suspension for a service offence conviction, but not for a Recorded Warning.
Train like your life depends on it.  Some day, it may.

Offline Remius

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 107,495
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,237
Again, this was NOT bullying, it was Assault. People need to stop minimizing the actions of what goes on around them by trying to attribute things to "bullying" or "sexual harassment" simply because those are the easy outs and the flavour of the day.

So, this is an exerpt from the link I provided a few posts up.

Bullying is an act of aggression by someone or a group with the intent of harming a person either physically or psychologically. Bullying may occur by hitting, threatening, intimidating, teasing and taunting, and name-calling, or by more subtle attacks such as spreading rumors or encouraging others to reject the person. Bullies target individuals whom they perceive are weaker or more vulnerable.

Assault is part of a bully's arsenal.  So yes it is assault.  The assault may have been part of a larger problem.  Just like domestic abuse.  It may include verbal and physical assault. Elder abuse is a real thing.  It does not always include physical violence but it can.

I don't think that anyone these days is minimising bullying or assault.  Quite the opposite.
Optio

Offline BeyondTheNow

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 64,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,093
Is it true that the building is based on a prison design? That's what I heard when I was incarcerated there in 1990 for 6 months of language training! LOL!

I'm convinced that the Mega is the source of everything wrong in CFLRS to this day. No wonder there is such a toxic culture there...

That rumour is still very much alive and thriving. I’ve never bothered trying to look into its accuracy, but it’s easy to believe, even if totally false. Its design is bizarre and the lack (or very minimal amount) of natural light accessing its corridors and many classrooms/offices, even when not in the basement, makes it even worse. (Especially blue sector.)

Your words are disheartening, because you aren’t the first one I’ve heard utter the same sentiment.

As was stated to me during one of many conversations outlining the issues with that place, it’s mostly just a tick in the box for many, or a ‘punishment posting’ for others. And although many know it needs fixing, if one is legitimately in a position to be able to make a difference, they won’t take the reigns and hunker down in seriously addressing the problems in case they end up having to be posted there longer to see it through.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 13:35:10 by BeyondTheNow »

Offline Remius

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 107,495
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,237
That rumour is still very much alive and thriving. I’ve never bothered trying to look into its accuracy, but it’s easy to believe, even if totally false. Its design is bizarre and the lack (or very minimal amount) of natural light accessing its corridors and many classrooms/offices, even when not in the basement, makes it even worse. (Especially blue sector.)

Your words are disheartening, because you aren’t the first one I’ve heard utter the same sentiment.

As was stated to me during one of many conversations outlining the issues with that place, it’s mostly just a tick in the box for many, or a ‘punishment posting’ for others. And although many know it needs fixing, if one is legitimately in a position to be able to make a difference, they won’t take the reigns and hunker down in seriously addressing the problems in case they end up having to be posted there longer to see it through.

Not sure if this is relevant or not.  How many instructors are class b reservists? A while ago it used to be a significant percentage.   Not to knock reservists, I am one, but I have seen some young inexperienced reserve instructors that were not properly mentored or supervised.  Most have never experienced CFLRS but now would be teaching there? possibly longer than they should be (ie class b trap)

Could that be an issue or is it something that runs deeper that exasperates other issues?
Optio

Offline Tcm621

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 11,895
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 727
Again, this was NOT bullying, it was Assault. People need to stop minimizing the actions of what goes on around them by trying to attribute things to "bullying" or "sexual harassment" simply because those are the easy outs and the flavour of the day.

Just to make it super clear:

Bullying is what you did to "your own Stan" when you told him you were offended by his presence when I presume you were his DS. Toxic leadership 101, notwithstanding that he carried on and finished. What kind of opening did you give to the other candidates on that course if/when they heard you say that? Think they might have thought it was fair game to go after "Stan" the same way you did?

I wasn't his DS, we were coursemates but i had a decade in at that point. I was being mean when I said that and the thought of a guy who gave up after 4 push ups going into battle with my brothers did offend me. The point was he worked and earned my, and everyone else's, respect despite his appearance, social skills, etc. He was never bullied by any of the other course mates because he worked hard and it was recognized.


Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 919,220
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,163
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage
Not sure if this is relevant or not.  How many instructors are class b reservists? A while ago it used to be a significant percentage.   Not to knock reservists, I am one, but I have seen some young inexperienced reserve instructors that were not properly mentored or supervised.  Most have never experienced CFLRS but now would be teaching there? possibly longer than they should be (ie class b trap)

Could that be an issue or is it something that runs deeper that exasperates other issues?

I can't speak to the Reservist portion, but in order to bring staff up to "standard", CFLRS runs its own instructor leadership type course. If the course was done properly, it should be enough to bring any PLQ MS/MCpl up to speed and make them competent instructors. The problem is how do you get your best and brightest to take a $600 a month pay cut, plus increased income taxes to go teach BMQ for 3 years? You're volunteering to be in a meat grinder. I'd absolutely love to go instruct on a BMQ, but I'd never do that to my wallet or my family. I would, however, take a CFTPO to go instruct on 1 course to fill gaps from the permanent staff.