Remember all our heroes - The Orca

Remember all our heroes

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Jody Vance: This Remembrance Day, don’t forget those who faced a very different enemy – often literally on home base.

Today’s Middle is going to make some people uncomfortable, but hopefully just the one’s who’ve done wrong.

On Remembrance Day, along with honouring those who fell on foreign battlefields, we should also acknowledge those who faced a different enemy, much closer to home.

It’s long past time to discuss the Canadian Armed Forces. Our military is steeped in selfless and committed soldiers, but unfortunately there’s also a layer of evil:

those who have knowingly abused people who enlisted to stand on guard for Canadians, then used their significant powers to cover up, and silence accusers. There’s a landslide of fearless soldiers telling terrifying tails of harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender discrimination.

Raped. At work. We must not look away.

It is terribly sad that there was ever a culture that allowed predatory behaviour, yet here we are. That enough victims of the literal Old Boys Club are brave enough to come forward and collectively demand a path to consequences brings hope. These are the true heroes.

The nice talk, the platitudes used to neutralize the facts of harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace must be replaced with truths. Actionable and ugly words to describe what those in positions of power leveraged to create a culture of abuse.

It is abuse. It is criminal. Think of the victims. For more on just how many (and how to get involved in the class action lawsuit), Google “It’s just 700.”

It’s time to demand the lid be blown off, so there’s no need for a whistle.

Canada’s new Minister of Defence, Anita Anand, took a great step in the right direction, removing the Forces’ ability to bury things in a system of self-regulation away, moving all accusations of dereliction of duty to civil court.

Since the latest class action suit was announced, the number of claims has gone from horribly concerning to systemic spike. At press time, there are more than 13,000 claimants. THIRTEEN THOUSAND. And yet still more are likely, as the deadline to join is still two weeks away, November 24th.

How many might there be? Probably more if there were no legal roadblocks holding back the truth.

Advocacy groups are spreading the word that this process is anonymous and comes with support. Tell all who need to know: the time has come to step forward. A culture is being exposed.

Today’s uncomfortable Middle is a call to remove NDAs, gag orders aimed at silencing victims, and threats of being blamed, questioned, or even blackballed. NDAs should be made illegal – or at the very least, severely restricted outside matters of creative or intellectual property.

Imagine the influx of claimants then? Not just talking Canadian Forces, but the whole shebang.

At this moment, in this uncomfortable column, I’d like to suggest those who might argue this is a bad idea could have a little (or big) something to hide.

So listen for that.

To be clear, I’m asking that all NDAs associated with allegations harassment, sexual harassment and gender/race/religious discrimination be lifted — even retroactively. Remove the legal gag holding back the healing of thousands.

Until it is 100% legal for each and every one to tell his or her story, we will never know.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.