Female Police officers across Canada, not just in the RCMP, are afraid to come forward with allegations of abuse, harassment and bullying on the job because complaints are not taken seriously and often it is the female officer and— not the problem officers — who face punishment and even job loss.
I myself am a female Police Officer who was sexually assaulted by a fellow male officer and after reporting the assault I faced punitive treatment from my employer. In my experience I was not supported or helped by my police force in a way that we as Canadian’s would expect a victim of crime to be treated. Instead my employer abandoned me, cut off my pay and offered no support.
This petition is not just about my case, but it is meant to bring awareness of the high prevalence of abuse, harassment and bullying of female officers in the law enforcement community. It is shocking that in this day of equality and civil liberties that these institution are still seeing blatant discrimination towards women.
My story is an extreme example of discriminatory treatment toward women, but I have spoken with several female officers from across this country and stories like this are not uncommon. The existence of the “Old Boys Club and the Blue Wall” are valid and true barriers to true equality in the law enforcement community.
I was assaulted by a fellow colleague, a male police officer who I worked with and who trusted to protect me as a fellow sworn officer. This Officer breached his oath to me and to the community when, while on duty, he entered my home and sexually assaulted me. After assaulting me, he left my residence and went back on duty and into the community.
I believed that the “police brotherhood” would support me and protect me, I reported the assault and within days I found myself on forced medical leave with no pay and no support. I was kicked out of my police residence and sent way. I was offered no assistance with medical treatment, no financial support, not even emotional support.
The police claimed the offense happened while I was off duty so it was not their problem. This same force who I put my life on the line for every day, who I swore to protect and serve every day, had no interest in helping me.
In comparison, the accused officer who assaulted me was put on suspension with FULL PAY. He was allowed to return after three months off and continued to be a member of the police community.
This is the typical atmosphere of “blue wall” and protection of officers reputation at all cost. The police institution is still sacrificing the rights of women in order to protect its image and atmosphere of the boys club.
This officer plead guilty to sexually assaulting me. He was allowed to work right up until his sentencing 2 ½ years after the assault. After the sentencing hearing I was forced to fly south on the same plane. As the suspect was being escorted to jail my “fellow officers” came to the airport to see him off and say goodbye. No one of them approached me or offered condolences.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 9th
I just want to add a message to all the hardworking, honest and dedicated law enforcement, corrections, special constables, military police, protection officers, security and other in this field. One - thank you for your support. It is hard that our industry is being criticized in the media, BUT we who do this job with good intentions have to use our voice if we want to see change. When good men and women say nothing, we risk this behaviour continuing. There are many, many honest, brave and honourable men and women in this country who still can be counted on to protect and serve us.
Female Police officers across Canada are afraid to come forward with allegations of abuse, harassment and bullying on the job because complaints are not taken seriously and often it is the female officer and— not the problem officers — who face punishment and even job loss.
This problem is NOT isolated to just the RCMP and other police forces are guilty of equal and worse treatment of their female officers.
This conduct is not acceptable and we want it to stop.
1.ALL women need to be able to come forward and not risk their jobs or punitive treatment for reporting abuse
2. This atmosphere of bullying and harassment in this day and age is not acceptable. Police are not above this conduct. Clear policy and education is needed on all forces and in all academies, and police institutions to ensure a more respectful work place and an end to the "old ways"
3. A third party needs to put into place to ensure forces are dealing with these matters in a fair and appropriate way and that the accused are facing appropriate disciplinary action and the victims treated with dignity and respect.
In no other work force in this country would be accept this behaviour nor would we stand for the victims being ignored, further bullied or punished for coming forward!