Female members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are coming out against the sexual harassment, assault, and bullying they say are rampant in their ranks. As a result of her alleged treatment, at least one officer now suffers from PTSD.
Catherine Galliford (pictured), who once worked on high-profile RCMP cases, tells CBC that she was systematically harassed by supervisors over the course of her career. She says one tried repeatedly to have sex with her, and to make others think they were a couple. And she describes a disturbing incident with another senior officer:
He said, 'I have something to show you' ... and pulled out an appendage. He wanted to show me his mole because he wanted to know if I thought it was cute. I said, 'Let's go back to the office. We're late. Put it back in your pants.'
After 16 years of harassment and no recourse or help within the RCMP, Galliford says, "I completely broke." She now struggles with PTSD, agoraphobia, and addiction, and is on indefinite paid sick leave. She's not alone — 48 RCMP officers currently on sick leave because of "workplace conflict" issues. The RCMP tells CBC that they're "off duty for a variety of reasons," including harassment allegations but also "personality conflicts" and "workload issues." But some say they're there because of constant bullying by superiors. Says one officer, "You're expected to go around carrying a gun protecting people when you're more worried about some segment of your own management sector, not knowing what they'll do to you next because they've been malicious underhanded and abusive." It gets worse — officer Krista Carle says she was sexually assaulted by undercover Sgt. Robert Blundell in the nineties, and three other female officers have accused the same man of assaulting them. Says Carle, "When I spoke out against the harassment, it wasn't taken seriously and I felt diminished and I felt re-victimized every time I told what happened to me."
One officer points out that by putting officers on unlimited sick leave rather than actually investigating allegations, the RCMP is wasting taxpayers' money. The arrangement is reminiscent of the New York City schools' notorious "rubber rooms" — except while those were reserved for teachers who were incompetent (or worse), the RCMP appears to be exiling the victims of others' mistreatment. If they expect to protect Canada's citizens, they need deal with crime in their own ranks — not just sweep it under the rug.