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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

TCM621

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A committee! The tried and true way of solving every knotty problem in a timely and efficient manner. How could everyone have overlooked such a solution for so long?

What kind of "vision" and "strategy" does the CAF need that wouldn't be better delivered first to Parliament? Please to replace empty buzzwords with practical examples.

Eventually someone will have to stop dancing around the fact that male sex drive is at the root of all this and that it varies in individuals as does the ability to subordinate it to conscious reason. Acknowledging factors and not assuming any of them away is a necessary prerequisite to solving a problem. Those who have forgotten what it was like to be a pre-middle-age man or who never knew are not well-equipped to weigh in. Some of the other things talked about up-thread are actually on point, not diversions from the topic, to the extent that societies have always had to come up with social structures and rules to help honest men stay honest. Some of those have been weakened, and here we are. So, we'll deliver firm statements to media and as many series of lectures as necessary until the problem is fixed?
Careful now. That's kind of talk got General Lawson fired. Though to be fair, you said it better than he did.

A certain percentage of men will abuse their position to get sex, a certain percentage of women are attracted to men in positions of authority and will work to attract them. This is normal human behavior not a result of a hyper sexualized culture. We need rules to limit this type of behavior because it is bad for morale and unit discipline but we don't need to freak out every time it happens. This is, of course, completely separate from sexual assault. The former is a consensual relationship that isn't conducive to a functional workplace the later is one person forcing sex upon another.

I wish we would stop lumping sexual assault in with sexual misconduct but it diminishes the importance of dealing with sexual assault while over emphasizing the harm of other inappropriate sexual behavior. Instead of pouring all their resources into dealing with sexual assault and empowering the CoC to handle sexual misconduct, they poured all their resources into combating jokes and patted themselves on the back for how committed they were to stopping sexual misconduct.
 

RubberTree

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Careful now. That's kind of talk got General Lawson fired. Though to be fair, you said it better than he did.

A certain percentage of men will abuse their position to get sex, a certain percentage of women are attracted to men in positions of authority and will work to attract them. This is normal human behavior not a result of a hyper sexualized culture. We need rules to limit this type of behavior because it is bad for morale and unit discipline but we don't need to freak out every time it happens. This is, of course, completely separate from sexual assault. The former is a consensual relationship that isn't conducive to a functional workplace the later is one person forcing sex upon another.

I wish we would stop lumping sexual assault in with sexual misconduct but it diminishes the importance of dealing with sexual assault while over emphasizing the harm of other inappropriate sexual behavior. Instead of pouring all their resources into dealing with sexual assault and empowering the CoC to handle sexual misconduct, they poured all their resources into combating jokes and patted themselves on the back for how committed they were to stopping sexual misconduct.
1) Men abusing their position to get sex is not "normal human behaviour"

2) This is not "separate from sexual assult," this is quite literally sexual assult
 

Brad Sallows

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Men use every advantage they can think of to get laid, which is "normal human behaviour". Status/power attracts some - I suppose many - women; most men know that status/power attracts women; ergo, exploit status/power to attract women. Without the notion that status/power attracts women, most literature and film would just be people standing around.
 

Infanteer

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Some of the other things talked about up-thread are actually on point, not diversions from the topic, to the extent that societies have always had to come up with social structures and rules to help honest men stay honest. Some of those have been weakened, and here we are.

I think this is the important part - there are two issues at play here. The first is that some men in high places acted inappropriately, and the second is that others knew about it and did nothing, allowing people to progress along with their career without consequences.

The first one will always happen, and as you say there are rules to keep people from defaulting away from upper brain "think before you act" to lower brain impulse. The CAF has these rules in place. The second is what the CAF is grappling with today, and the appearance of a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality in some quarters of the institution.
 

TCM621

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1) Men abusing their position to get sex is not "normal human behaviour"

2) This is not "separate from sexual assult," this is quite literally sexual assult
If it isn't normal how coming it has been happening since the beginning of written history and probably longer? The whole point of getting a position of power, from an evolutionary perspective, is to get greater access to sex. If you are telling me that there could never imagine a situation where you would be tempted to sleep with a subordinate, I'm calling you a liar. I don't know you so I couldn't begin to guess what that situation might look like but for many of these situations it involves being young, single and being able to convince yourself it isn't a huge deal.

If a man uses the status of his position to consensually engage in sexual relationships with a subordinate, it is unethical, in contravention of the code of service discipline and not the behavior we expect from our leaders. However, it is not sexual assault. The Criminal Code of Canada defines an assault as
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.

The key word here is consensually. For there to be true consent the CCC says,
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.

So unless that person is using threats of reprisal, or something like that, it is not sexual assault for a supervisor to sleep with a subordinate. To be clear, I am not saying that would be normal behaviour and it would in fact be sexual assault to use threats to obtain consent. My point is that men and women have been having sex when they shouldn't since the dawn of human history, it shouldn't be shocking when it happens and it shouldn't be lumped in with sexual assault. If I experienced a situation where a peer was sleeping with his subordiante, I would council him it was a bad idea and, depending on the circumstance, make the chain aware of the situations. If I had a peer sexual assaulting a subordinate, I would make the chain aware of the situation when I drug his bloody carcass in to the office. They are 2 very different things and require very different responses.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Even if it is consensual, all the 'lower' person has to say is "I felt like I couldn't say no/took advantage/capacity/etc" and it becomes sexual assault. What it actually was matters not one iota.

Marital problems,....wife runs to Minister,....a consensual sexual relationship eventually occurs,......Minister sentenced to 18 months as she claimed 'a position of authority' took advantage of her mental state. Very true story....

EDIT....changed 'did' to 'sentenced to'.
 

OldSolduer

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Even if it is consensual, all the 'lower' person has to say is "I felt like I couldn't say no/took advantage/capacity/etc" and it becomes sexual assault. What it actually was matters not one iota.

Marital problems,....wife runs to Minister,....a consensual sexual relationship eventually occurs,......Minister sentenced to 18 months as she claimed 'a position of authority' took advantage of her mental state. Very true story....

EDIT....changed 'did' to 'sentenced to'.
I don’t doubt it one bit.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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@TCM621 ,

Your extract from the CCC states that "no consent is obtained when the complainant submits or does resist by reason of:
d. the exercise of authority"

So an imbalance in rank can certainly impair the provision of consent. Doesn't make every relationship with a rank imbalance a sexual assault, but the potential exercise of authority by the respondent would have to be considered.

A relationship in the workplace can also violate the Personal Relationships policy, especially when there is a supervisor/subordinate relationship.
 

OldSolduer

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@TCM621 ,

Your extract from the CCC states that "no consent is obtained when the complainant submits or does resist by reason of:
d. the exercise of authority"

So an imbalance in rank can certainly impair the provision of consent. Doesn't make every relationship with a rank imbalance a sexual assault, but the potential exercise of authority by the respondent would have to be considered.

A relationship in the workplace can also violate the Personal Relationships policy, especially when there is a supervisor/subordinate relationship.
So maybe all those service couples are in violation? I jest of course.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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What would you say if a Captain used their rank/position of authority to get a new Pte alone and then made an advance?
 

TCM621

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@TCM621 ,

Your extract from the CCC states that "no consent is obtained when the complainant submits or does resist by reason of:
d. the exercise of authority"

So an imbalance in rank can certainly impair the provision of consent. Doesn't make every relationship with a rank imbalance a sexual assault, but the potential exercise of authority by the respondent would have to be considered.

A relationship in the workplace can also violate the Personal Relationships policy, especially when there is a supervisor/subordinate relationship.
Someone outranking someone doesn't mean that they are exercising that authority to gain consent. Notices it doesn't say having authority but using that authority. I can walk down the hall and find more than member who is outranked by their service spouse does than make their entire marriage one giant sexual assault? As Bruce mentions it is risky behaviour even if you are 100% convinced that your partner consents of their own free will because more than one person's career has ended when a bad break up becomes "I feel like I couldn't say no". There are 100s of reason why supervisors shouldn't sleep with their subordinates but that doesn't make it sexual assault. I'm sure one of the lawyers on the board could be more clear but my understanding is that to be sexual assault one must do something with the intention of sex that a reasonable person would feel removed the choice of consent. Just like I can have a knife on me when I hook up with a woman that doesn't mean I committed aggravated sexual assault because I didn't brandish the knife or make any indication that the knife had anything to do with whether or not we were having sex. There has to be some action and intention.
 

Haggis

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If a man uses the status of his position to consensually engage in sexual relationships with a subordinate, it is unethical, in contravention of the code of service discipline and not the behavior we expect from our leaders. However, it is not sexual assault.

So unless that person is using threats of reprisal, or something like that, it is not sexual assault for a supervisor to sleep with a subordinate. To be clear, I am not saying that would be normal behaviour and it would in fact be sexual assault to use threats to obtain consent. My point is that men and women have been having sex when they shouldn't since the dawn of human history, it shouldn't be shocking when it happens and it shouldn't be lumped in with sexual assault. If I experienced a situation where a peer was sleeping with his subordinate, I would council him it was a bad idea and, depending on the circumstance, make the chain aware of the situations. They are 2 very different things and require very different responses.
A superior need not use threats to gain sexual favours, but could use promises, too. (You want that career course? I can get it for you. 😉 ) That would also be using a position of authority to advantage.

If I had a peer sexual assaulting a subordinate, I would make the chain aware of the situation when I drug his bloody carcass in to the office.
So you wouldn't involve the police? This is, as you described above, a crime.

I find it interesting that your post infers the aggressor is always a male.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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TCM,

My post says that an imbalance in rank can certainly impair consent. Are you arguing that it couldn’t? Some cases will be more clear cut than others. Out of curiosity have you taken Respect in the CAF?

If a person of senior rank uses their authority then it could be assault due to the impact of that authority on the giving of consent (from the CCC extract that you quoted). This is in addition to potential professional misconduct.

I will add that it is critical for CAF chain of command to refer reports of sexual misconduct to the MPs. They will triage and either take it themselves or refer it back to the chain of command.

Cheers
 

daftandbarmy

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TCM621

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A superior need not use threats to gain sexual favours, but could use promises, too. (You want that career course? I can get it for you. 😉 ) That would also be using a position of authority to advantage.


So you wouldn't involve the police? This is, as you described above, a crime.

I find it interesting that your post infers the aggressor is always a male.
I literally don't know of the offer of favors would be considered "exercising their authority" to coerce consent. I would guess not but I could be wrong.

Of course I would call the police. Why do you think I would drag his broken bleeding ass backing to office? Call me a knuckle dragging, anachronism if you want but if I will react violently to sexual assault and gladly take the punishment. Somethings are worth it.

I used the singular male pronoun for two reasons. First it is usually a male, not always but usually. Second I use it to refer to anyone because it's easier and how I learned to write. I could have used he/she/they but I think it makes for poor reading. I'm not even touching gay/lesbian relationships or interactions but of course they could have all the same issue a male/female ones do.
TCM,

My post says that an imbalance in rank can certainly impair consent. Are you arguing that it couldn’t? Some cases will be more clear cut than others. Out of curiosity have you taken Respect in the CAF?

If a person of senior rank uses their authority then it could be assault due to the impact of that authority on the giving of consent (from the CCC extract that you quoted). This is in addition to potential professional misconduct.

I will add that it is critical for CAF chain of command to refer reports of sexual misconduct to the MPs. They will triage and either take it themselves or refer it back to the chain of command.

Cheers

It definitely could impair consent but it could also have absolutely nothing to do with it. My point is that it doesn't necessarily mean there is a lack of consent and it would come down to how specifically one acted. As I said earlier, I know dozens of couples where one spouse has a higher rank than other spouse. In some cases, those relationships started at work. Are we to assume those were sexual assault? Of course not, that would be ridiculous because people aren't going to stop having sex just because someone wants to stop them. It doesn't matter what they threaten a person with, some will defy those rules. Do you think there were zero gay people in the military before it was legal or that they were all celibate?

As for referring all sexual misconduct to the MPs, I think that is over blown as well. I think any case which could be a possible sexual assault should be but if a Sgt walks in to his Warrants office and say "Cpl Blank and I have been hanging out and we started dating" does that require the MPs? If he had sex with her before one of them was removed from the chain it would be sexual misconduct but involving involving MPs would be overkill. My biggest concern is that the important cases get ignored in favour of the easy ones so it looks like we are clearly a lot of files when the files they are clearly can, and should, be handled simply by the chain.

If your argument is that the CoC has done such a poor job that the MPs have to take over because their is no trust left in the CoC, I can't argue with that. It should be easy and we shouldn't have an issue separating easily solved issues of misconduct from serious issues of sexual assault and ensuring the are dealt with accordingly. However, I won't argue that they have made a gaint mess of it.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I literally don't know of the offer of favors would be considered "exercising their authority" to coerce consent. I would guess not but I could be wrong.

Of course I would call the police. Why do you think I would drag his broken bleeding ass backing to office? Call me a knuckle dragging, anachronism if you want but if I will react violently to sexual assault and gladly take the punishment. Somethings are worth it.

I used the singular male pronoun for two reasons. First it is usually a male, not always but usually. Second I use it to refer to anyone because it's easier and how I learned to write. I could have used he/she/they but I think it makes for poor reading. I'm not even touching gay/lesbian relationships or interactions but of course they could have all the same issue a male/female ones do.


It definitely could impair consent but it could also have absolutely nothing to do with it. My point is that it doesn't necessarily mean there is a lack of consent and it would come down to how specifically one acted. As I said earlier, I know dozens of couples where one spouse has a higher rank than other spouse. In some cases, those relationships started at work. Are we to assume those were sexual assault? Of course not, that would be ridiculous because people aren't going to stop having sex just because someone wants to stop them. It doesn't matter what they threaten a person with, some will defy those rules. Do you think there were zero gay people in the military before it was legal or that they were all celibate?

As for referring all sexual misconduct to the MPs, I think that is over blown as well. I think any case which could be a possible sexual assault should be but if a Sgt walks in to his Warrants office and say "Cpl Blank and I have been hanging out and we started dating" does that require the MPs? If he had sex with her before one of them was removed from the chain it would be sexual misconduct but involving involving MPs would be overkill. My biggest concern is that the important cases get ignored in favour of the easy ones so it looks like we are clearly a lot of files when the files they are clearly can, and should, be handled simply by the chain.

If your argument is that the CoC has done such a poor job that the MPs have to take over because their is no trust left in the CoC, I can't argue with that. It should be easy and we shouldn't have an issue separating easily solved issues of misconduct from serious issues of sexual assault and ensuring the are dealt with accordingly. However, I won't argue that they have made a gaint mess of it.
TCM,

If one of the parties submits a complaint to someone then yes - it must go to the MPs first. It can then come back to the CoC. This is policy. I have had referrals come back within an hour and we proceeded with our own CoC investigation.

Can a MCpl ask a Cpl on a date? Different units? Sure. If the MCpl is the supervisor of the Cpl, though, there is a potential problem.

If you are a supervisor in the CAF I recommend the Respect in the CAF course.
 

RubberTree

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TCM, I feel like we are discussing two very different subjects. In the first post that I commented on you referred to men abusing their power to get sex and stated this was normal. You then stated that it wasn't sexual assault. I obviously disagree.

Now you are discussing two members of different ranks being in a sexual relationship. This is obviously a very different situation and not necessarily one that would involve assault, although the possibility is certainly present. I don't believe the two situations can be compared apples to apples.

I also don't believe that something becomes "normal" simply because it has occurred since time immemorial. Murder, rape, child molestation, etc have been happening forever but that doesn't mean it is normal and should be tolerated.
 

FJAG

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I always though a policy/order along these lines (and borrowing from the old Army concept that you had to get permission to get married) might work.

1. If two service members of different ranks (or three or more for the very enlightened) want to enter into a sexual relationship they will jointly attend before their respective (or joint) superior and declare that intention and sign a declaration to that effect and stating that they are both doing so freely and voluntarily;

2. The CoC will immediately ensure that the senior member has no further supervisory responsibility for the junior where after they are free to continue their relationship as they see fit;

3. In the event that the CoC determines that one of it's service members is involved in a relationship with someone of a different rank without such a declaration in place, they will be called in, interviewed as to the nature of the relationship and take such appropriate administrative or disciplinary action as is necessary based in the circumstances. Such actions shall, as a minimum, result in administrative and disciplinary actions against the senior member for being involved in the relationship without a declaration. (As the senior member he or she should clearly have known better and was at least in breach of the policy/order even when the relationship was truly consensual)

It's a simple policy, puts the onus on the senior member to know better, provides for a way for consensual relationships to continue and, to an extent, provides a senior member who has made a declaration, protection against spurious, after the fact, allegations of coercion.

Yup. Some folks might find this too intrusive but IMHO such a provision is both legal and defensible based on the current climate pervading the CAF.

🍻
 

OldSolduer

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I always though a policy/order along these lines (and borrowing from the old Army concept that you had to get permission to get married) might work.

1. If two service members of different ranks (or three or more for the very enlightened) want to enter into a sexual relationship they will jointly attend before their respective (or joint) superior and declare that intention and sign a declaration to that effect and stating that they are both doing so freely and voluntarily;

2. The CoC will immediately ensure that the senior member has no further supervisory responsibility for the junior where after they are free to continue their relationship as they see fit;

3. In the event that the CoC determines that one of it's service members is involved in a relationship with someone of a different rank without such a declaration in place, they will be called in, interviewed as to the nature of the relationship and take such appropriate administrative or disciplinary action as is necessary based in the circumstances. Such actions shall, as a minimum, result in administrative and disciplinary actions against the senior member for being involved in the relationship without a declaration. (As the senior member he or she should clearly have known better and was at least in breach of the policy/order even when the relationship was truly consensual)

It's a simple policy, puts the onus on the senior member to know better, provides for a way for consensual relationships to continue and, to an extent, provides a senior member who has made a declaration, protection against spurious, after the fact, allegations of coercion.

Yup. Some folks might find this too intrusive but IMHO such a provision is both legal and defensible based on the current climate pervading the CAF.

🍻
I think this might work.
 
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