Royal Military College head apologizes for cadets' behaviour at harassment seminars
The general in charge of Royal Military College apologized to an expert on sexual assault prevention for the "unprofessional behaviour" of the school's cadets, including "several incidents that could constitute harassment," after she was invited to address the military's future leaders last fall.
Brig.-Gen. Al Meinzinger sent a formal written apology to the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres in February, five months after its Governor General's Award-winning educator Julie Lalonde complained about being whistled at, cat-called, laughed at and openly disrespected by officer cadets she had been invited to speak to.
Lalonde says cadets at the four Saturday talks she delivered at the military college in Kingston, Ont., were the most hostile audiences she'd had in a career of speaking about sexual assault prevention.
Brig.-Gen. Al Meinzinger addresses cadets and families during Royal Military College of Canada's Commissioning Parade in May. Meinzinger apologized for the conduct of some cadets at sexual harassment awareness talks last fall. (Mary White, DND/Combat Camera)
She says following one especially rowdy session, a third-year cadet made a point of giving Lalonde a visual once-over before dismissing her: "I might have listened to you if you weren't a civilian and a woman."
"The things I heard at the Royal Military College of Canada scared me, to think that people had those kinds of attitudes about women, about sexual violence, about their role as bystanders," Lalonde told CBC News.
"It scared me and I think we should all be frightened to hear about how normalized that attitude is at that school."