Chief of the Defence Staff (Cdn) General Tom Lawson’s remarks to CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge suggesting men are “biologically wired in a certain way” to make them believe it is OK to sexually harass women created a shitstorm of criticism and bewilderment yesterday.
The response has been pretty unanimous in condemnation of Lawson’s comments and that is a good thing. Rare – but good. The General unwittingly summed up exactly what’s wrong with the Canadian Forces’ when it comes to dealing with sexual violence and harassment – the leadership isn’t there.
Keep in mind this is the very General who is overseeing recruitment targets for women being cut and curtailing the military’s response to the sexual misconduct report. And now he has a bad case of trench-foot-in-the-mouth disease.
Meanwhile, Australian Army Lieutenant-General David Morrison says when it comes to women servicing, “I’m no sociologist, I have no anthropological training but I’m certain of this … we live in a world where the squandering of women’s talent, the traducing of their potential, is a global disgrace.” He said that last year at a four-day Global Summit To End Sexual Violence and shared the stage with UNHCR’s special envoy Angelina Jolie and British foreign secretary William Hague. Lt Gen Morrison was there to call on women to serve in all roles in armed forces across the world.
Leadership. You can watch some here:
The CBC’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti joined Jeff Perera (healthy masculinities advocate and speaker) and sexual-assault prevention educator Julie Lalonde to discuss Gen. Lawson, what it means to be a man, a leader, and the DND speech that’s long overdue.