Canadian general attributes military sexual assault to attackers' "biological wiring"

This might explain why an estimated five people are assaulted in the Canadian armed forces daily

By Jenny Kutner
Published June 17, 2015 4:43PM (EDT)
  (<a href=''>MTMCOINS</a> via <a href=''>iStock</a>)
(MTMCOINS via iStock)

A fun fact about rape culture: It is not contained to the United States alone! No, no, a belief that it's inherent in men's nature to commit acts of violence against women -- especially sexual violence -- are endemic to other cultures as well, including that of our neighbors to the north. And we even have some of Canada's top military brass to give us an example.

In an interview with the CBC this week, Canadian defense chief Tom Lawson was pressed to explain the nation's exceedingly high rate of military sexual assault, which an estimated five members of the Canadian armed forces experience daily. According to Lawson, the explanation is pretty simple, and sounds a bit like an excuse: Men are just hardwired to assault women, in particular. Via CBC:

It would be a trite answer, but it's because we're biologically wired in a certain way and there will be those who believe it is a reasonable thing to press themselves and their desires on others. It's not the way it should be. Much as we would very much like to be absolutely professional in everything we do, and I think by and large we are, there will be situations and have been situations where, largely, men will see themselves as able to press themselves onto our women members.

In addition to ignoring the fact that men can be (and often are) victims of assault as well as women, Lawson's answer illustrates pretty much exactly why sexual violence remains so prevalent in military settings: The people in charge attribute it to "biological wiring" and believe they probably can't do anything about it, so...they don't. Instead, they take a "boys will be boys" approach and allow the sexual assault rates to keep climbing.

Lawson was roundly criticized for his comments, and later issued and apology. "Sexual misconduct in any form, in any situation is clearly unacceptable," he said in a statement. "My reference to biological attraction being a factor in sexual misconduct was by no means intended to excuse anyone from responsibility for their actions."

(h/t Jezebel)

Jenny Kutner

MORE FROM Jenny KutnerFOLLOW @JennyKutner

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Canada Cbc Military Sexual Assault Rape Rape Culture Sexual Assault