Leah West, a former armored officer who is now an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, said she was sexually assaulted by a senior officer at a party in 2008. She was found unconscious the next day, and the the military police were called. They referred the matter to his commanding officer.
“He asked me the question that I think too many women are in the Canadian Forces when something like this happens, ‘How do you want me to handle this? Professor West recounted. “Asking the victim how you want to proceed, it is very unlikely that a woman, especially in a fighting arm and, in this case, where the person was the oldest for me, would say, ‘Throw him the book, sir. ‘ “
Today, she said that the armed forces’ chronic problems of sexual misconduct will only be resolved through a radical shift in military culture and a generational shift.
“I think it requires bold action now,” she said. “Those who oppose this bold move must step aside and withdraw from the forces.”
Both inquiries could prompt a number of senior officers with problematic backgrounds to retire earlier than they expected, she said, opening up opportunities for the advancement of women and men who, from after his experience, are “morally irreproachable”.
Professor West said she had previously been contacted by an infantry commander seeking advice on how to deal with the issues raised in Colonel Taylor’s letter.