Sinthia Hoque:– A woman alleging a high sexual level of misconduct says she wants people to know that the problem isn’t just within the Canadian Military, but it is much larger than that.
She also says that she hopes the military’s partner institution-the Department of National Defence takes the opportunity to speak out and change the system.
Alexandra Auclair, a former military member and a civil servant with the Department of National Defence spoke out in an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, sharing her experience she said, “I feel like now is the time rise up and start talking about it, so that the next generation doesn’t have to have the same experience’s as I did”.
Auclair, a bureaucrat, was former a combat arms officer in the military and trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. She also says that in 1997, she was one of the only two women working amongst 198 male trainee’s.
“I’m not ready to go into details on that but needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience”, said Auclair, who was faced with an environment brimming on inequality and added that Capt. Brian Brooks, who was in charge of the training, sometime forced two women to shower in the communal space with male trainee’s.
“I’m sure you can imagine: when you’re two women and so many men, there no good ending”.
In an interview with Global News, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence said an investigation was launched. “As we said before, there is no place for misconduct in the CAF. This was as true in 1997 as it is today”, said the spokesperson.
“While we must respect privacy laws and cannot provide details regarding disciplinary actions taken against CAF members, we can confirm that-as a result of serious allegations of harassment at the Infantry in 1997-an investigation supported allegations of misconduct”.
The Canadian Military is currently dealing with the allegations against the current and former Chiefs of the defence staff, Jonathon Vance, who is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour from Canadian subordinates and Adm. Art McDonald, who stepped aside on February 24th after news of military police launching an investigation into the allegations against him.
Jonathon Vance has denied all allegations against him.
Auclair says she was dumbfounded by the experience of her discussion on how to fix the problem with senior defence and military leaders. Some of whom were also in those Gagetown showers.
“Not a single one of them has ever admitted it, spoken to me about it, felt the need to apologize for it, despite having all these conversations about Op honor”, said Auclair.
Auclair describes an experience which she says occurred in the winter of 2009, when she had gone out with a senior leader in the department for a drink after work.
“He put me into a corner, put his tongue down my neck, copped a feel”, she said. “Luckily I managed to push him away and leave”.
Despite the said person being a senior to her and potentially holding the ability to influence her career, she had attempted to report the alleged incident.
However, Auclair said she received no support and was eventually told to drop the allegations.
According to Auclair, her attempt to report to the incident was complex due to the fact that she was a civilian and not a military member at the time and it hadn’t occurred on military property.
Auclair, who had previously worked at the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, said the time is now to speak up and act.
News Source : Global News
Picture Source: CTV News