Bordage’s platoon commander, Master Warrant Officer D.J. Prosser grabbed her breast and made sexually inappropriate comments. Prosser, who had taken the military’s harassment training program, was later charged with sexual assault and drunkenness.
The court martial judge Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil also voiced concerns about how Bordage was treated by the military leadership. But he noted that he couldn’t say much about those issues, other than to remind Canadian Forces leaders that when somebody complains, it should be taken seriously.
The message said that RCEME takes all such allegations seriously.
Lt.-Col. Roger Cairns, commandant of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School, also sent an internal message to personnel that all incidents of sexual misconduct will be investigated and victims supported. He also reminded military personnel about regulations about commenting on social media.
Bordage noted some of her friends still inside RCEME or at the school have been taken aside by their officers and threatened with punishment for sharing or liking her Facebook video.
An officer with the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service phoned Bordage after the video went public, requesting information about the other women who had been allegedly sexually assaulted. Bordage declined to provide that information after the CFNIS officer couldn’t give her answers on who would protect the women against retaliation. One of the women, who fears retaliation if she were to report the assault, has already decided to leave the military and will be out by the summer, added Bordage.
The ongoing police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct by the current chief of the defence staff Adm. Art McDonald and his predecessor Gen. Jon Vance has prompted the Liberal government to talk about new measures to deal with the problem in the military. A Commons defence committee is also examining the allegations against Vance and McDonald and is expected to produce recommendations for the government. The committee will later turn its attention to the military justice system.
Bordage points out similar studies and efforts were done after Canadian Forces sexual misconduct scandals in 1998 and 2014, but there was little change.
She says real change will only come when the government removes the military’s ability to prosecute Criminal Code cases such as sexual assault. The Canadian Forces can’t be trusted to police itself since it’s common for military prosecutors to make deals so sexual assault charges are dropped, Bordage said.
Also needed is a real leader with courage to act, she added.
“The fish rots from the head,” Bordage explained. “If we had true leadership at the highest ranks of the Canadian Forces, someone who is not afraid to speak truth to power, we wouldn’t be in this position.”
This content was originally published here.