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‘The culture needs to change’: Victim of alleged sexual assault by military major calling for more support from CAF

Alexis grosjean gladstone 1 5879295 1651100239566 national

MOOSE JAW, SASK. –

WARNING: This story contains details of sexual assault allegations.

A woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted twice by a major with the Royal Canadian Air Force at 15 Wing Moose Jaw is calling on the military to provide more help and resources for alleged victims.

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Alexis Grosjean-Gladstone, 28, claimed the major had non-consensual sex with her two times in late 2021. She said they were dating at the time.

She is also married to another Royal Canadian Air Force member, who was stationed at 15 Wing Moose Jaw at the time of the alleged assaults.

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ALLEGED INCIDENTS

On both occasions, Grosjean-Gladstone said she blacked out from drinking and alleges the major had sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

The first alleged incident, which she claims happened one night in October 2021, took place in a hotel room.

She said when she woke up the next morning, she could tell he had had sex with her.

“I asked him if he had sex with me that morning and he said yes,” she explained. “I said ‘well can you never do that again please. I don’t like it.’”

About a month later, she alleges the same thing happened – this time at his housing on the military base.

Once again, she said she could tell they had sex as soon as she woke up.

“I said ‘I asked you not to do it again’ and I left,” she said.

After talking about it with a friend and thinking for a few days, Grosjean-Gladstone said she decided to report him.

“I was pretty upset because that was twice that my consent was taken from me,” she explained.

She said she completed a sexual assault kit and the major was charged with two counts of sexual assault.

“He was charged and there were a few court dates that took place, but he never went to trial,” Grosjean-Gladstone said. “He passed away prior to his trial. So he was never found guilty.”

MILITARY SUPPORT

Grosjean-Gladstone said before the major’s death, she didn’t feel supported by the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is part of the National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

“I asked the military quite a few times for a few meetings. I wanted to talk to [the major’s] boss. Not even about him, just about what help was available to me, because I am a military spouse of another officer,” Grosjean-Gladstone said. “I just wanted to talk and nobody would talk to me. It felt like all the walls went up and no services were being offered.”

After his death, she said the CAF reached out several times to offer support.

“The moment he died, all of a sudden I was getting calls from bases all over Canada being like ‘here’s what you’re entitled to. Are you okay? How are you feeling?’” she said. “It felt very phoney to me. It felt like at that point it was just ‘we need to cover ourselves.’”

She said she was then offered conversations with the base padre and one with a high ranking officer.

The padre acts as a priest on the base, offering masses and counselling for members and spouses.

“After [the major died] another high ranking officer did take a meeting with me with permission from their bosses, and with the padre, just to ask me what they could do differently. What they could fix for the next girl. But they didn’t do it for me,” Grosjean-Gladstone said.

She said she told him they should listen to the victims and reach out to them as soon as an allegation is made.

“Nobody asked ‘are you okay?’ at the time. Help was promised, but help wasn’t given until afterwards. By then it was too late. There was more damage done,” she explained.

“It shouldn’t have to be this way. I should never have had to feel alone. I should never have had to feel like the military turned their back on me when I was married to one of their members, and still am.”

She said even after his death, she wasn’t given all the meetings she had asked for. She wanted to speak with the base colonel and the major’s boss, but she said those requests were rejected.

The Canadian Armed Forces declined an interview with CTV News. A media relations member said in an email “it would be inappropriate for us to comment on any alleged incidences or cases due to privacy concerns.”

In a written statement, the media relations branch said a victim-centric approach is adopted in every Military Police or Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigation in a number of ways.

It said the Military Police Victim Services Program provides assistance to victims by referring them to resources and support centres.

“For civilians, this includes local and community-based supports such as hospitals, services specializing in victim assistance, child protective services and emergency shelters,” the statement said.

It said past and present members of the CAF are provided resources through the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.

In addition, the statement said every military police member completes RCMP trauma training, as well as a victim rights in Canada course.

“It is critical that the Royal Canadian Air Force, along with other elements of the Canadian Armed Forces, ensure that our processes to assist victims is immediate, effective and emotionally supportive in every way,” the statement said.

“We must have constant evaluation to ensure that any person who has suffered from sexual misconduct of any kind has the support they require for recovery.”

‘SHOULDN’T HAVE TO FEEL SCARED’

Grosjean-Gladstone said she wanted to share her experience to let other people, who may be in a similar situation in the future, know they are not alone.

She said she feels ostracized by some military members over her allegations.

“They shouldn’t have to feel scared and they definitely shouldn’t have to feel like they’re being blamed, especially by other members,” Grosjean-Gladstone said. “It’s just the culture, but the culture needs to change. This is why some people don’t come forward and why I thought about not coming forward at first and reporting him. Because I was scared – I was scared to lose all of my friends and I was scared what people would say about me.”

She said she has lost friends who are military members, but she said if sharing her story helps even one person in the future, then it’s worth it.

“I just hope when they do come forward, or if they do come forward, that the military has these resources in place for them,” Grosjean-Gladstone said.

“Nobody should ever have to feel scared and alone and blamed.”

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