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Some of the main trouble spots are garrisons where large numbers of soldiers live in close quarters in barracks during their training.
“Considering the scale of your complaints,” he writes, “which concern more than 15 different alleged perpetrators [ . I should have walked out of there holding my head high, and when I wanted. I have to keep fighting until someone believes me, until someone says, ‘Lise, it happened. What can we do to make up for the suffering we have caused you?That means a total of 1,780 sexual assaults per year in the Canadian Forces. “It’s a huge problem,” says Alain Gauthier, director-general of operations in the ombudsman’s office of the Canadian Forces.The office is considering putting in place a systematic investigation of harassment and sexual violence in the military, he says.According to statistics obtained through Canada’s Access to Information Act, military police have received between 134 and 201 complaints of sexual assaults every year since 2000. Most specialists agree that hundreds of other cases are not reported.Statistics Canada estimates that only one in 10 cases of sexual assault is reported to authorities.The Gagetown base, in New Brunswick, and the Kingston base, in Ontario, which has a military college, were both in the top five. The five years of court martial judgments reviewed by paint a harrowing picture of the kind of assaults that have taken place during that time.
Women are woken up in the middle of the night by tipsy aggressors who find their way into their quarters.
’ ” That suffering led her to a psychiatric hospital several years ago, after a panic attack that gave her seizures. When they kicked me out, I was lost,” she says, her voice fading to a whisper.
Every day, five individuals in the Canadian military community become victims of sexual assault.
Lise Gauthier doesn’t have enough fingers to count the number of times she was raped, assaulted or sexually harassed by fellow soldiers. The best you can do is breathe,” she says, rocking herself in the solarium of the house she shares with her partner, her eyes welling with tears. One night, in the mid-1990s, a man locked her in the toilets at a bar on the Bagotville base near Chicoutimi, Que.
The 51-year-old, from Sherbrooke, Que., spent half her life in the Canadian Forces. The first time it happened, Gauthier had been serving for barely a year. A bus driver raped her in a bedroom on the Saint-Hubert military base. He grabbed her head, forced it between his legs and told her he would let her go if she performed oral sex. I’m married with four kids.” When she turned around, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Every time it happened, she had the same suffocating, primal terror.
Ten per cent of complaints are filed by army cadets.