Yes, I think Sandra's and Laura's testimony today and the stories that Sandra is hearing criss-crossing the country are indicative of that, but then again, I'm a white, educated, bilingual civilian woman with a written apology from the Department of National Defence. I was thrown under the bus by the general at the time on national television. The media allowed people to have comment sections open where people could threaten me and my safety. Mine was a pretty open-and-closed case. The commandant apologized for how I was treated at that institution. To me that's very telling.
I don't know a single woman who has come forward to challenge the institution, whether you're talking CAF, the RCMP, or the firefighter. Who has come forward and actually been lauded as a hero in that moment? Nobody. Maybe years later we will look back and recognize the sacrifice that those folks have made, but we don't have examples of someone coming forward and getting unequivocal support. It is a struggle.
You have to hire lawyers if you can afford it. You need to find supportive folks to come to your rescue. History looks back on you and you know you're on the right side of history, but that doesn't do anything to protect your livelihood in the moment.
I'm a civilian who could not speak in public without a security detail, and I speak to end violence against women in Canada as a white lady. I don't think it gets any more blunt than that. I couldn't go into community groups and talk about ending violence without requesting that the OPP be there to make sure someone doesn't come after me. People threaten me to my face and online, and I had to get the police involved. This actually happened to me. How many women are just leaving the military and not bothering to come forward? Tons of them.
This is an institution that has a ceiling; they're aiming for 21% of the CAF to be women. That is so embarrassingly low that it's laughable. We're not going to get there when the people trying to change things are pariahs within that community.