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    Canada military reviews widespread sex assaults

    April 26, 2014

    Canada's military has ordered a probe into shocking allegations of widespread sexual assaults within its ranks, which have mainly targeted female soldiers.

    Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson reacted to the issue on Thursday and noted that he was "deeply angered upon learning of the alleged assaults."

     

    "Sexual misconduct of all kinds will not be tolerated within the Canadian Armed Forces," Nicholson said, adding that he had requested General Tom Lawson, Canada’s chief of defense staff, "to get to the bottom of these serious matters."

     

    According to an eight-month investigation, whose results were published in MacLean's magazine and its French-language sister publication L'Actualite on Thursday, one in ten female soldiers reported being sexually assaulted.

     

    The reports said in total, the military received an average of one sexual assault complaint every other day -- or 178 annually from 2002 to 2012.

     

    The two magazines, whose stories sparked the internal review, predicted the figure is actually far higher -- by as much as tenfold -- when adding in unreported cases.

     

    Lawson called the revelations disturbing, saying, “Sexual assault is a crime. It is an abhorrent and corrosive act that goes against the entirety of military ethos.”

     

    The report suggests that the assaults happened in various locations, including Afghanistan, and the victims were often discouraged by the military’s culture to report them.

     

    "The fact that they are a military family, they are obliged to band together and be one team," Alex Castonguay, L'Actualite’s political bureau chief, said.

     

    "It [breaks] all the unity inside the Canadian military so people are not complaining a lot, they are fearing retaliations," Castonguay added.

     

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