Child Abuse in Canadian Military

by Sheila E.
(Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Canadian Military Members Sexual Abusing Children as Young as 12: 
I am 42 years old. When I was 11 or 12 years old I was raped by an acquaintance of one of my older sisters. The man was between 25 and 30. He was in the Canadian Navy, posted here in Halifax.

I was staying with an older sister for the summer here in Halifax, because there was abuse at home.

It happened while I was sleeping, or pretended to be sleeping, when what he was doing woke me. When the man stood up to take off his pants, I heard his belt rattle so I turned over onto my side on the sofa. When he saw me turn onto my side he knew he could not penetrate and started to call me every dirty name in the book.

The next day this sorry excuse for a man was still so angry at me. He grabbed my collar and made a fist and went to punch me in the face. That was when one my sister's brothers-in-law threatened to kill this navy man if he ever laid a hand on me again.

Thank God that was the last time I saw him. But not the last time I was abused or raped by a member of the Canadian Navy.

The news stories lately about child sexual abuse by members of the Canadian Military* brought those memories flooding back. It's been 30 years since the first abuse by a CF (Canadian Forces) member, and I've suffered from mental illnesses as long as I can remember. I've been told I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the abuses I suffered at the hands of child molesters.

I ended up marrying a navy man in 1988(that abusive marriage ended last year).

I've been trying to get help from the CF, but I'm literally laughed at and even given the run around by the Canadian
Minister of Veterans Affairs (my husband is no longer a serving CF member.)

The CF's Defense Minister Peter MacKay said this week that something will be done. What will be done, Mr. Mackay? Another sensitivity course? How did that work out for the CF'S members of the HEMAN WOMAN HATERS CLUB a few years back?

I would like to thank you very much for allowing me to write about this. I would like nothing but to stop letting those men continue to ruin my life. I want to stop being victimized, to stop the constant thoughts of suicide that have tortured me. Even during those long times alone with my son while my husband was at sea.

* Pertains to allegations of sexual abuse of young people by older members of the military contained in a draft report done through the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Program for the period from 2004 to June, 2008.

A Video Reading by Darlene BarriereNote from Darlene: The volume of contributor submissions has now made it impossible for me to comment personally (especially in great detail) on each and every contribution. If I haven't left you a comment or one that is in-depth, please do not take my lack of a personal response as a slight, or as a statement that your story is somehow unworthy of my time. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If there was a way for me to respond to all of you at length, I would.

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Comments for Child Abuse in Canadian Military

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Mar 27, 2009
Fighting a military bureaucracy...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Sheila, my heart goes out to you. You are fighting not just a government bureaucracy, but a military one. They tend to close ranks to protect their own. The more exposure your case gets, the more others are likely to come forward. Only then will such people like our Canadian Forces Defence Minister have to respond. But it must be kept in the public eye. Consider going to the media with your story of child sexual abuse. The listening ear of an empathetic journalist can go far in elevating your worthwhile cause.

What I will caution against is the belief that justice will suddenly bring about healing and recovery. Although getting justice can help a survivor feel a sense of closure, the trouble is that often times justice is not served, either because the courts rule against the victim—thereby re-victimizing the one who was wronged—or by a lack of what could be deemed appropriate sentencing or restitution for the wrongs done. In the end, healing and recovery is left up to the survivor.

I am not unmindful of the fact that an admission from the Canadian Military would go far in helping fund your recovery process, especially for therapeutic counselling. You didn't deserve to be mistreated. You didn't deserve to be raped. You don't deserve to be dismissed now that you are attempting to make the Canadian Military accountable for allowing such practices to go unchecked. What you DO deserve is help for your PTSD and the devastating emotional effects of the abuse you endured at the hands of military men. The question you may have to ask yourself is whether or not you can wait for such an admission. If there is any way you can afford it yourself, please consider counselling for yourself now, Sheila. You are DEFINITELY worthy of that help.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Mar 27, 2009
Shelia Be brave, Be stong, Be persevering
by: Maurice

Shelia, you can do it, justice must be seen to be done for you. You deserve the best for you and your son. You have bourne enough of hurt and pain because of what happened you at 12. Your beautiful innocence taken from you by this man who gave into his animalistic tendencies to defile you beautiful tenderness. Awful just awful, what a percent of brutes like this did to many women down through the year while on duty with the arm forces. I say a percent and it is a small percent, never the less it does not condone that percent to ruin your life and cause you such mental stress and strain all through the years. Love yourself Shelia, please accept that by doing that you'll value your beautiful self and know you are worth receiving the love and care of your friends. Your son and your, your family and your closest of friends are worth living your life to the full each day you wake up. Say I'M SPECIAL AND BELIEVE IT BECAUSE YOU ARE,

Apr 13, 2009
I understand how you feel
by: Faea

I...Its hard to start this. I only admitted my abuse last summer when I was in councilling for postpartum depression. I was in germany, my father was posted there as a mechanic. He was an abusive alcoholic. I used to lay awake and hear him beat on my mom. His unit protected him because he was always drunk and didnn't think he was. When he was forced to go off the drink they realized how bad it was and started hiding us from him. During all this my mom tried to get us away from this. She let me stay alot at a friend of my father's from his unit. He was a petaphile (i know I spelled that wrong). It wasn't until my mother overheard them talking at a party. my own father stated that when i get a few years older he wouldn't mind having a go at me. she went to the general of the base in tears. we left three days later.
My mom kept in contact with him, not knowing what had happened all those years ago. Now he has a daughter of his own. she is two. I am so tied on what should I do, where should I start. I have to face these things myself, but there is another child involved. Not only that I do not beleive I was the first or last. I have no idea where to even start.

Jun 22, 2012
You come to me
by: Diane Hill Rose

I will help you get justice for this. I work with several other veterans and victims of sexual assault in or by the military.

It will take time, but I will help you.


I am in facbook under the page United Federation of Canadian Veterans.

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stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
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