A recent CNN Expose detailed just how prevalent sexual assault remains in the U.S. military and more specifically, the despicable manner with which complaints are treated. As the report indicates, complaints by victims are often ignored or silenced. However, this problem is not limited to the U.S.
For decades, the Canadian military has sent mixed signals to its service members. In the past Veteran Affairs Canada denied most allegations of sexual assault as pensionable injuries. More recently, a handful of service members received pensions for sexual assault that occurred while serving, but the standard of proof is extremely tough and unfortunately, denials are more common than awards. The result is not unlike the victims of sexual assault mentioned in the expose who are labelled as complainers or crazy.
Sexual assault crimes against women in the military must remain high on Human Rights Watch lists around the world. Governments need to start adopting policies that include the rigorous and thorough examination of each complaint as soon as it is filed and with no bias against the victim.