Sexual assault and harassment not part of military culture, says top commander

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OTTAWA - The country's top military commander has been called on the parliamentary carpet to answer questions about reports of sexual violence in the military.

Gen. Tom Lawson, the chief of defence staff, is being grilled by the Commons defence committee about a recent magazine report that claimed sex assaults within the ranks are at an epidemic level.

The story, published by Maclean's and L'actualite magazines, interviewed several victims and examined a decade's worth of statistics documenting reported attacks.

It said military police get as many as 200 complaints of sexual assault each year, with many more cases going unreported because the victims fear the consequences within the military hierarchy of coming forward.

Lawson says he was disturbed by the allegations and acknowledges the courage of those victims who spoke out.

But he says he does not accept the notion that sexual violence and harassment are part of military culture.

Organizations: Maclean's

Geographic location: OTTAWA

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