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Article: Unwanted sexualized behaviour at RMC

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
...
Col. (ret'd) Michel Drapeau said ...

Fixed that for the National Post. It's really not that hard to be accurate.

The problem for RMC is that it starts with exactly the same raw material as every civilian university - hormone charged and brain dead high school students who, for the most part, are experiencing their first freedom from parental supervision. To cap it off there is a hierarchical structure within the cadet corps which gives individuals whose leadership skills are still underdeveloped authority over more junior cadets who themselves feel unempowered.

There are already programs in place within DND and within RMC that should be addressing this problem, however, based on this and other reports, these seem to still be failing the mark.

I disagree with Drapeau about there being a system of inculcation that "you shall not complain". While there is clearly a program to build self confidence and self reliance which generally teaches you to handle problems yourself, there is at the same time a clear system that allows and encourages complaints of this nature. IMHO, the problem isn't so much that the system discourages complaints but that most young people aren't prone to going to "higher ups" to solve these types problems but generally deal with them through discussion with their peers. They generally decide amongst themselves what has crossed the line and generally, for low level issues, tend to "suck it up and carry on". It's a tough problem to solve.

I must admit, I was not surprised with the figure of 68% "had witnessed or personally experienced what was described as unwanted sexualized behaviour" - it's entirely too prevalent in our society - but I'm absolutely dumbfounded by the report that "28 per cent of female respondents said they had been sexually assaulted during their time at the military colleges — nearly twice the rate among students at post-secondary institutions in the rest of the country" and that "Fifteen per cent of female officer cadets reported having been sexually assaulted in the past 12 months, compared to 11 per cent in the general population." I haven't read the actual report, however, if those statistics are accurately reported, heads, many heads, should roll at RMC.

:clubinhand:
 

Haggis

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AK said:
But I cynically believe that the combination of alcohol, immaturity, and hormones will always produce some negative outcomes regardless of how well we indoctrinate.

In my experience, alcohol prohibition in such institutions simply leads to more discipline issues related to misuse (smuggling) and abuse as some young adults are incapable of drinking in moderation after a period of forced abstinence.
 

Haggis

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Jarnhamar said:
There seems to be a discrepancy as to what exactly zero tolerance means in the CAF.

We've seen it with sexual misconduct, I'm guessing we'll see the same with our "zero tolerance" for hateful conduct.

I think some of us are under the impression "zero tolerance" and "no place in the military for offenders!" means offenders will be released. In practice it's less of the case.

Despite what's defined in the respective DAODs, it all comes down to the personal perception of what constitutes inappropriate (and hateful) conduct and the willingness of members to address it. 

For some to say that Operation HONOUR is a failure is a stretch.  The program was born out of the CAF's inability/unwillingness to enforce basic moral conduct in the context of sexualized behaviour.  Because the offenders were mostly male and mostly in some form of leadership/supervisory position, often this conduct was overlooked or buried "for the good of the unit" or to protect the career of a "streamer".  There were and still are female sexual predators but they are far fewer in numbers and most military males are still unwilling to report a sexual assault by a female. The bottom line is that Operation HONOUR has had the effect of publicizing the issue and giving command guidance to those who are perpetrators, victims or witnesses on how to proceed.  Is it perfect?  No.  But it's a far cry from where we were 10 years ago.

During my Operation HONOUR cascade training, I became quite upset when two majors could not see that one of the scenarios put forward for discussion was clearly describing not only inappropriate sexualized conduct but a criminal offence.  One admitted that he had seen and tolerated such behaviour before and didn't want to admit that he could have done better in the circumstances. Overcoming those attitudes is harder than just putting out a new DAOD.
 

Kilted

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If the CAF really wants to get rid of this problem as much as possible, they could just segregate RMC and open a second campus for women in a completely different location. They would never do it, because for one it would be saying that RMC cadets could never be trusted and many would feel that it was a step backwards.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I don't think that COA is the right solution;  you're just passing the buck on the conduct issue to the next CO/Cmdt and their units.

The real solution is to supervise the young Officers, educate and mold them and punished those with the tools we already have to correct their actions/attitudes and, if necessary show them the door.

Even the USMC is moving away this segregated approach.  https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2019/12/30/platoon-level-gender-integration-now-required-at-marine-boot-camp-as-lawmakers-still-question-recruit-safety/
 

CBH99

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I think everybody on the forum is in general agreement about the key basics - if you are the type of person to sexually assault another, the military isn't the place for you.

Charge them appropriately.  Hold them accountable.  And then a 5F discharge on their way out the door! 





However -- and bear with me, as it's 7am and this may not translate the way I'm intending it...

When we say 'Unwanted Sexual Behaviour at RMC' - what ALL is included in that?


What I mean is...

-  Are sexual jokes (verbal) being included in that?
-  Is immature horsing around being included in that?  (For example, calling your buddy a fag while you joke back and forth?)

-  Is it unwanted sexual touching?
-  Is it including rapes?


The reason I ask is not to make light of the situation.  However, I personally find 'unwanted sexual behaviour' to be somewhat broad, and can include a lot of things depending on how one views it.



I'll use a personal experience I had as an example, to try to put in perspective what I mean.

One day while at work, a buddy of mine and I were walking from one point of the armoury to another.  We were just chatting and joking about, as it was a pretty quiet training night & we were off to grab something.

During our chat, he shook his head at something I said, and mumbled "You're such a fag..."  And we both had a little chuckle.  Didn't think anything of it.

One of the ladies from the OR overheard his comment, and caused a ton of drama for him with the CoC.  I had to explain to my Sgt, 2Lt, and a few higher up's that "No, he wasn't sexually harassing me.  No, I'm not gay and he wasn't attacking me personally.  Etc etc."


So when I say 'unwanted sexual behaviour' can be fairly broad, that is what I mean.



I don't have any knowledge of RMC once so ever, and took off the uniform a while ago now.  So I don't intend to dismiss the seriousness of these problems, if they are in fact serious.

I'm just wondering if we are focusing on sexual assaults, unwanted sexual touching, rape, or some other form of grossly disgusting behaviour.  Or if we are also including some darker humour which, from my experience, was somewhat normal amongst the troops.  (Although the darker humour we experienced wasn't sexual in nature.)


If anything, I think the female members in our unit probably felt extremely protected.  If anybody said or did anything towards them, they had quite a few loyal colleagues there to back them up. 


:2c:
 

SupersonicMax

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CBH99,

That kind of language is also damaging and needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary, just like other words were.  If that kind of language is accepted in an organization, are we really a place that is welcoming for the people that language is targeting?
 

MJP

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SupersonicMax said:
CBH99,

That kind of language is also damaging and needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary, just like other words were.  If that kind of language is accepted in an organization, are we really a place that is welcoming for the people that language is targeting?

Exactly, it doesn't matter what someone meant in using that sort of language nor does it matter what the intended recipient even thought but the fact they were said in the first place.  Some may be ok with ribald language, others may not but often they don't stand up and say so they just vote with their feet. If they stay then it likely makes them feel like not part of the team nor valued.
 

Haggis

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CBH99 said:
During our chat, he shook his head at something I said, and mumbled "You're such a fag..."  And we both had a little chuckle.  Didn't think anything of it.

Clearly, your buddy has no idea of the meaning of "fag" in a North American context (in the UK it's a cigarette).  Nonetheless it was inappropriate.

Personal perceptions can mean a lot.  Two examples:

First:  I was at my gun club recently to take a friend for a range day (she is a member of these forums, too).  We are both semi-avid cyclists.  She pulled up to park I saw she had a new bicycle rack on her car, one which we had chatted about previously.  The first words out of my mouth were.... "nice rack!".  Another visitor to the club overheard this and complained to the club president.

Second: Before I retired, I met up with a friend at the Legion following Remembrance Day.  She is a CAF vet and RCMP constable with several deployments and I had never seen her in person in her red serge. When we saw each other the first words out of my mouth were.... "nice rack!".  She replied "You, too"!  Standing nearby was her Inspector, who was momentarily aghast and then caught on.
 

daftandbarmy

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Haggis said:
Clearly, your buddy has no idea of the meaning of "fag" in a North American context (in the UK it's a cigarette).  Nonetheless it was inappropriate.

Personal perceptions can mean a lot.  Two examples:

First:  I was at my gun club recently to take a friend for a range day (she is a member of these forums, too).  We are both semi-avid cyclists.  She pulled up to park I saw she had a new bicycle rack on her car, one which we had chatted about previously.  The first words out of my mouth were.... "nice rack!".  Another visitor to the club overheard this and complained to the club president.

Second: Before I retired, I met up with a friend at the Legion following Remembrance Day.  She is a CAF vet and RCMP constable with several deployments and I had never seen her in person in her red serge. When we saw each other the first words out of my mouth were.... "nice rack!".  She replied "You, too"!  Standing nearby was her Inspector, who was momentarily aghast and then caught on.

:rofl:

This is known as 'good clean fun' among savvy adults. My greatest fear is that this will be extinguished by this recent 'PC nuke and pave' equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition...

“One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.”
― K.L. Toth
 

CBH99

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I agree with everything said above, from all of the posters.  100% of it.

And I couldn't agree more that the word 'fag' should be removed from our language, as it isn't used in remotely the same context as a British guy asking for a cigarette.



The thrust of my question was, however -- does anybody with recent experience at RMC have any knowledge of what kind of 'unwanted sexual behaviour' is being described in the article?

I'm not condoning it once so ever.  Just curious to see the situation in context.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Some of what you're asking about is, I think, detailed in the report, link below.  Scroll down to the Highlights section and start from there.

Examples

- The most common types of behaviours that were witnessed or experienced by CMC students were sexual jokes, inappropriate discussions about sex life and inappropriate sexual comments about appearance or body.

- Unwanted sexualized behaviours include acts other than sexual assault, and can range from sexual jokes to inappropriate discussions of a person’s sex life.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2020001/article/00011-eng.htm#a18
 

PuckChaser

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The actual data is a lot more telling than a bunch of headlines.

The prevalence of sexual assault among those in the general postsecondary student population was not statistically different for women (11%) or men (4%) when compared to students in CMCs (Burczycka 2020b). When looking at a similar age range to those in the CMC, these findings are also consistent with what was observed among Regular Force members of the CAF: 15% of women and 3% of men under the age of 24 were sexually assaulted in the 12 months prior to the SSMCAF (Cotter 2019), as well as the general population, based on results from the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces (SSPPS) (Cotter and Savage 2019).

CMC should be better than the national average, but being at the national average for post-secondary is not, in itself, a crisis. It means there's a culture problem where the students are still acting like normal university kids than potential military officers and leaders. Again, CMC's are not significantly different from general post-secondary data on intervening:

Even though many Canadian military college students who witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours in the postsecondary environment viewed them as offensive, the majority of students did not intervene when they witnessed these behaviours taking place. According to the SISPSP, 94% of men and 91% of women CMC students did not take action in at least one instance of witnessing unwanted sexualized behaviours in the CMC postsecondary setting (Table 2). Similar findings were also observed among students in the general student population (92% and 91%, respectively) (Burczycka 2020b).

This is where we need to make the culture change, at the bystander level. Fancy briefs, DLN courses and safety briefs before the weekend aren't going to change culture. You need the 3rd and 4th years buying in to the program and being what right looks like, with stiffer penalties for those individuals acting inappropriately or failing to act. When the 1st and 2nd years see the upper class taking it seriously, then they will buy in and reinforce that new culture over their 4 year stay. It's the right kind of vicious circle, where we slowly get better and better every year.
 

stoker dave

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PuckChaser said:
where we slowly get better and better every year.

I agree there may be a problem and, as stated, it needs to be addressed.  My time at RMC goes back to when the lady cadets were first introduced.  That was not necessarily smooth.  My concern is that while we should "slowly get better and better every year" I am a bit aghast that almost 40 years later this is *still* an issue. 
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=CBH99]
And I couldn't agree more that the word 'fag' should be removed from our language, as it isn't used in remotely the same context as a British guy asking for a cigarette.
[/quote]

It seems like low hanging fruit sometimes too. People are quick to admonish that kind of language, which is great.

People are a little less aggressive when calling out the mwo or maj who turn into Mr Hyde anytime alcohol hits their lips. Inappropriate comments, inappropriate behavior, grabby hands, sexual propositions.

Sometimes it's reported. Sometimes:
"They're good guys when they're not drinking"
"They're going through a bad break up"
"They don't mean it"
"They're close to retiring, not worth ruining their career".





Some people are hard wired to behave this way and no amount of classes or training or workshops or threats will change that. These people have had careers of people making excuses for them and covering for them. The best thing we can do to prevent careers of this behavior is to take the hit to our strength/numbers and punt these men and women when they exhibit coming into the CAF with this behavior or anytime it comes up.
 

daftandbarmy

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CBH99 said:
I agree with everything said above, from all of the posters.  100% of it.

And I couldn't agree more that the word 'fag' should be removed from our language, as it isn't used in remotely the same context as a British guy asking for a cigarette.

Fun fact: the term 'fag' is cockney rhyming slang:

Oily Rag = Fag = Cigarette

Not related to 'Ginger Beer' at all... :)

https://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/usage/slang_cockney.html
 

dapaterson

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stoker dave said:
I agree there may be a problem and, as stated, it needs to be addressed.  My time at RMC goes back to when the lady cadets were first introduced.  That was not necessarily smooth.  My concern is that while we should "slowly get better and better every year" I am a bit aghast that almost 40 years later this is *still* an issue.
I had an instructor who was decidedly proud of being LCWB and not FCWA, who wore his sweat Buster's button beneath the lapel of his DEUs.

He was one of many factors that made me question the utility and professionalism of the MilCol system.
 

dimsum

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dapaterson said:
I had an instructor who was decidedly proud of being LCWB and not FCWA, who wore his sweat Buster's button beneath the lapel of his DEUs.

What's LCWB, FCWA, and a Buster's button  ???
 

dapaterson

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Elements of the harassment inflicted on the first females at RMC as inflicted by the other students, with tacit approval of much of the staff.

Edit: See https://everitas.rmcclub.ca/looking-back-through-the-1981-review%E2%80%A6/
 

daftandbarmy

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dapaterson said:
Elements of the harassment inflicted on the first females at RMC as inflicted by the other students, with tacit approval of much of the staff.

For those who aren't aware of this particular horror show: SWEAT = 'Stupid Women Eating All the Time'. Apparently, they were so proud of this that even made a special pin...

RRMC Memories

Captain Laura Kissmann (Barr) joined RMC in 1984 and then transferred to RRMC in 1986 where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Physical Oceanography. She spent eleven years in the regular forces in the North Bay Fighter Group / Canadian NORAD Region HQ; Air Command HQ in Winnipeg; Wing Operations in Cold Lake, AB; and the CF Aerospace Warfare Centre in Ottawa. She remains a full-time air force reservist and lives in Carleton Place, ON.

Laura:  I actually am not certain of the date but I think I was the fourth or fifth class of girls.  And people often ask me because I graduated in the first class of girls with Roads, how hard was it at Royal Roads or RMC and I’ve always felt girls were more integrated here at Roads.  And part of that was because you had Royal Rodents who had come in and stayed in fourth year at RMC and they weren’t ready for girls so they’re our seniors and certainly I had a few experiences myself where they had that bitterness and lack of acceptance.  And my year they’d made a pin – I don’t know if you ever heard of this – it was a pin and it was a picture of Miss Piggy and it was the “NO” symbol – and she had the pillbox on – she was dressed like a cadet and I don’t know what it said on it but the symbol at the time was girls at military college were considered SWEAT– “stupid women eating all the time”.

Laurie:  Sweat busters.

Laura:  It was a sweat buster pin, that’s right. That’s right it was the year of the Ghostbusters. I was telling you about the stress – they went around the college and woke us up in the middle of the night and showed us this pin and yeah… you know that wasn’t fun.  In first year I was trying my hardest and you felt like you were keeping up with the guys and being accepted and then – just to have that little reminder that you weren’t really as well accepted there… was hard.

https://everitas.rmcclub.ca/rrmc-memories-9/


 
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