Explanations In this photo, Perron is seen tied

Explanations of HostilityExample 1: Women having to “prove their worth” based solely on gender. Women in the military face a multitude of challenges that their male counterparts do not have to deal with. In this day and age one would assume that the military, who are there to ensure our national security, would be attempting to exemplify the best morals of humanity but unfortunately that is not the case. There have been an enormous amount of instances where women were mistreated, abused, or taken advantage of purely because of their gender. Through the firsthand accounts of women that have been through this hell and through the detailed reports conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps it can clearly be seen that there is an underlying pattern of hostility towards women that we need to find a solution for. This hostility towards women has many origins but the most obvious one is the clear physical difference between men and women. This physical difference leads to a clear divide with some of a woman’s male counterparts questioning whether the woman can complete and withstand the same physical torment that they have to deal with. The best example of this can be seen in one of the most notable female figures in Canada’s military history. In the early 1990′, Sandra Perron became Canada’s first female infantry officer. She had many accomplishments, including being deployed twice and being given an exceptional service commendation from the UN. Despite all of this she is still best known for a single photo taken of her during her training in Gagetown, New Brunswick. In this photo, Perron is seen tied to a tree, barefoot, and beaten. Her opinion on the matter is that it was an endurance test to prove to men that women could “take it.” She viewed it as atrocious and physical abuse but maintains that the intent behind it was just to prove to the world that she was capable of taking a beating. Sandra also dealt with superiors constantly questioning her abilities in general. After she had been commended, promoted, rewarded, had her paratrooper wings, received medals, and had two tours of operations under her belt she was reassigned as a junior training instructor, which she viewed as a clear demotion in all but the name. This was all she could take and she chose to quit abruptly. She felt that she had finally been accepted by the army and knew that she could not go back to constantly convincing her superiors of her worth and starting all over again. Example 2: Sexual assault and abuse.Abuse and hostility against women takes many forms but there’s no form more disgusting and degrading than sexual assault. Lise Gauthier signed up for the armed forces when she was 18 to follow her dream of working fighter planes. This journey wasn’t an easy one, least of all because she was raped, assaulted and sexually harassed constantly starting from the very beginning. She hadn’t even served for a year when she was raped by a bus driver on a military base. She was strangled and he threatened her life if she ever told anyone. Less than a year after that on Trenton base in Ontario she was drugged and woke up after being raped in a pickup truck. This led to her having to get an abortion after she realized she was pregnant. This wasn’t the end though. In the mid 1990’s a man locker her in the toilets at a bar on the Bagotville base in Quebec. The man forced her head between his legs and said that he would only let go if she performed oral sex on him. Another time in the same bar a man snuck up behind her and covered her mouth. His other hand pulled down her pants and tried to sodomize her. Much to her horror when she turned around it was someone who she had worked with for years. This private hell took a turn for the worst when in the early 2000s her superiors began to make explicit sexual advances. One of her superiors begans making drunken advances at a bar which she tried her best to turn down. He told her that, “This is going to cost you your career.” A little while after this she learned that the military was releasing her from service due to “health problems.” Guathier is convinced that this was a retaliation and an excuse to silence her on the matter. Through Canada’s Access to Information Act both Noémi Mercier and Alec Castonguay who write for Maclean’s found out that every year after 2000, military police in Canada have dealt with between 134 and 201 reports about sexual assault, or an average of 178 per year. According to Statistics Canada, approximately only one in ten victims of sexual assault actually come forward and report the incident to the correct authiries. Taking this into consideration there is most likely upwards of 1780 sexual assaults every year in the Canadian military, or around 5 per day. Example 3: Underlying sexualized culture that is hostile towards women.In 2015 the former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps conducted a released a report that concluded that Canadian women, lesbian, gay and transexuals in the military work in a toxic work environment. Besides sexual assault they are subjected to constant vulgar name-calling, sexual innuendoes, jokes and general harassment. Shockingly this seems to be either accepted or at least disregarded by senior military leaders.Deschamps visited a vast amount of military bases over half a year and it became alarmingly obvious of the dim reality that many women in the military face. The 88 page report details the extent of the discrimination and abuse that women have to deal with starting from their first day wearing the uniform.Example 4: Authority figures accepting or promoting the behaviour.Most of these issues begin in basic training where instructors were found to use completely inappropriate language that they get away with without punishment. There were also many occurrences of “dubious” sexual encounters and date rape was found to be “prevalent.” In training it is also very common for women to be instructed to, “stop being pussies” and to “leave your purses at home” while being assaulted with vulgar language and jokes about rape. Deschamps report concluded that the military leaders turn a blind eye to this culture of disrespect and end up blaming the actions on the fact that the armed forces is simply a “reflection of society.” This type of irresponsibility and passing the blame is completely unacceptable of Military commanders because it relays a sense of acceptance to the lower ranks where the problem festers. Solutions to Promote Acceptance of Women and End Hostility Example 1: Holding guilty parties accountable so they don’t rise through the ranks. In the case of Sandra Perron, she witnessed all of the men that made her life difficult with their abuse rise through the military hierarchy to eventually be in high ranking positions. These men not have a large amount of influence over the individuals under them and it is unknown if they have changed or matured at all. These men raise in ranks quicker than the ones that supported her so Sandra views it as if they had been rewarded for their disgusting behaviour. One way to stop this from happening is to crack down and hold guilty parties responsible for this behaviour. In a lot of situations where this conduct is reported, the the superior officer ends up doing nothing but if these people had actually been punished or a note made on their records then they would have had a much harder time raising through the ranks and someone with higher moral standards might’ve gotten promoted instead. This will hopefully promote better attitude and limit the amount of misogyny that women have to deal with.Example 2: Take Women who report abuse seriously and give them protection. In June of 2007, Lise Gauthier came forward and submitted a 159 page letter that denounced all of the abuse and harassment that she had been through over her three decades in the military. She submitted it to her superior officer, which is mandatory since there is no way to go around the chain of command. Unfortunately for her, her commanding officer believed that since she had so many complaints about 15 individuals it was completely implausible that they happened. Her accusations were bluntly turned away and disregarded. The fact that the military has its own parallel justice system which doesn’t help the situation. All of these issues are dealt with internally in a system that is easier to hide corruption and abuse in. If this system was given an overhaul to be stricter against sexual abuse and concealing and disregarding it maybe these women will feel as though they will be taken seriously. With women feeling more protected maybe more will be comfortable enough to come forward and report this type of behaviour which would be a big step in ending it altogether. Example 3: Having a specific team of investigators that deal solely with abuse against women. Having a seperate and most importantly impartial team of investigators to deal with all these cases of sexual assault would also help these women. Since the people on the team would hopefully be impartial, and not the individual’s superior officer there would be a lot more women reporting rape, sexual assault and harassment based on their gender. Currently when reporting instances such as this it needs to go through the chain of command to their superior officer who in some instances is also supervising the person the complaint is about. Knowing both individuals so closely it is hard to be impartial. Also if the complaint is specifically about that superior officer an impartial team or division would also be preferable to report to. Fortunately this is already happening and there is a team in place that is evaluating all of the current procedures, from the delays of dealing with cases, to how follow up and how complaints are handled. They will also analyze the role of the chain of command when submitting complaints and are going to make recommendations to the Minister of Defence in respect to improving the overall efficiency of the system.  Example 4: Having more women in positions of power. One of the solutions that was suggested by Marie Deschamps after she submitted her report of the sexualized culture currently in the military was the promotion of more women into senior leadership roles. She believes there is an “undeniable link” between the “disrespecting and demeaning” environment in which these women work to the dismal integration of women into the military. Additional women in roles of power would lead to more accusations being taken seriously and it’s undeniable that it would increase the amount of women that come forward since they would be more comfortable reporting the matter to another woman. Women in these leadership roles would also be more likely to try to discipline and attempt to limit all of the misogyny and harassment in the lower ranks that is so accepted right now. It would not only help deal with the current problems that women face but it would help limit the problem before it spreads to the next generation of recruits. In conclusion it is painfully obvious that women in the military face an enormous amount of challenges and most of these stem from the misogyny, harassment, and sexual abuse they receive from their male colleagues and superiors. No matter how the problem is dealt with, clearly something must be done to make sure these women feel protected and comfortable in the occupation that they chose to seek.


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