As reported by the CBC, military police are investigating a new allegation that a cadet was sexually assaulted at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. According to reports, the assault took place on May 13, just prior to the college’s high-profile convocation.
However, it seems issues with the school’s misogyny and sexism have been going on for years, but people are only now starting to come forward to talk about it. For example, in the fall of 2014, esteemed sex-assault prevention educator and director of Hollaback! Ottawa Julie Lalonde visited the Royal Military College, where the school asked her to open a dialogue and conversation to approximately 1,000 undergraduate students (in groups of about 250) on sexual assault prevention. However, Julie claims that she was “whistled at, catcalled, laughed at and openly disrespected by the officer cadets.”
If this is the type of environment created for a visiting educator trying to teach about sexual assault prevention, then one can only imagine what the school is like day in and day out. For the men living in this collegial environment, their distinct attitudes regarding women and sexual violence are rather telling. For years in the Canadian military, there have been an ongoing power struggle and an underlying sexual dominance issue that has endlessly left women to fend for themselves and go without reporting their assaults. This needs to change.
Julie Lalonde thinks it can change, and she thinks this is the opportunity for the Royal Military College to “seize this moment & show themselves as leaders in addressing sexual violence.” The college is currently trying to take steps toward change. Over the course of the next few months, let’s see what action is taken as far as disciplining those involved and trying to change the discourse of how sexual consent and sexual harassment are handled in the future.