A note about language

This Summary Report uses the term ‘sexual misconduct’, which in the CAF is used to refer to incidents ranging from inappropriate behaviours such as sexualized jokes or innuendos to acts that meet the Criminal Code definition of sexual assault (see Box 1, “CAF Definition of Sexual Misconduct”).

Box 1 – CAF Definition of Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is conduct of a sexual nature that can cause or causes harm to others. Sexual misconduct includes:

  • Actions or words that devalue a person or group of persons on the basis of their sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression
  • Jokes of a sexual nature, sexual remarks, advances of a sexual nature or verbal abuse of a sexual nature in the workplace
  • Harassment (DAOD 5012-0) of a sexual nature, including initiation rites of a sexual nature
  • Viewing, accessing, distributing or displaying sexually explicit material in the workplace, and
  • Any Criminal Code offence of a sexual nature such as:
    1. Surreptitiously observing or recording a person in a place where the person could expose his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts or could be engaged in explicit sexual activity, or distributing such a recording (voyeurism: s. 162)
    2. Publishing, distributing, transmitting, selling or making available an intimate image of another person – i.e., a visual recording in which the person depicted is nude, exposing genital organs, anal region or breasts, or engaged in explicit sexual activity – without their consent (publication of an intimate image without consent: s. 162.1)
    3. Engaging in any kind of sexual activity with another person without their consent (sexual assault: s. 271)
    4. Engaging in any kind of sexual activity with another person who is incapable of consenting, for example due to intoxication (sexual assault: s. 271) and
    5. Engaging in any kind of sexual activity with another person by inducing that person to agree to the sexual activity through abuse of a position of trust, power or authority by virtue of rank or position (sexual assault: s. 271)

The workplace is the physical work location and the greater work environment where work-related functions and other activities take place and work relationships exist. In the CAF context, the workplace includes places such as messes, on base clubs, quarters, dining halls, gyms, and sanctioned events such as holiday gatherings and course parties as well as office spaces, classrooms, garrisons, ships, hangars, vehicles, aircraft, online forums, etc. CAF members do not simply work for the CAF, but work, socialize and often live within institutional and social structures established by the military.

Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 9005-1, Sexual Misconduct Response (2020-11-18)

In addition to the term ‘sexual misconduct’, this Summary Report uses the terms ‘affected member’ or ‘survivor’ to refer to CAF members who have experienced sexual misconduct. Occasionally, the term ‘victim’ is used, particularly in recognition of its legal implications within justice processes and systems.

We recognize that not everybody who has experienced sexual misconduct identifies as a ‘survivor’. It has been used here for consistency. Some people may prefer other terms in relation to their experiences, such as ‘military sexual misconduct, and when referring to the impacts of those experiences, such as ‘military sexual trauma’. These terms are also included at times in this document.

Others may not wish to label themselves at all based on their experience. We honour survivors’ agency to use the terms that fit best for them.

Language was one of the most challenging issues that the SSCG faced throughout its work. Language is important; it is a gateway to understanding, one that guides how we think and respond. We approach this Summary Report with an understanding that efforts to clearly define terms, and make them as inclusive as possible, must be a central part of the work to further develop a Survivor Support Strategy and implementation plan.

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