Canada's Chief of Defense Staff, General Tom Lawson, has apologized for his "awkward characterization" after saying sexual assault still happens in the military because "we are biologically wired in a certain way" in an interview with the CBC..
Asked by CBC Correspondent Peter Mansbridge why sexual harassment is still an issue in 2015, Lawson said, "It would be a trite answer but it is because we are biologically wired in a certain way, and there will be those who would believe that it is a reasonable thing to press themselves and their desires on others. It's not the way it should be."
He said some people, mostly men, have in the past considered it acceptable to sexually assault women, and will continue to hold that opinion."What we have not been able to bring across is that we've gotten much much better than we were years ago," he said.
There was an immediate backlash from other politicians, including one opposition politician, Marc Garneau, who called for Lawson's resignation.
Some CBC viewers were equally angry —one anonymous viewer commenting on the online story said, "As a fellow man, I find your weak excuses that men are "wired" to sexually harass women both childish and insulting."
Lawson issued an apology a few hours after the interview was broadcast, saying, “I apologize for my awkward characterization, in today’s CBC interview, of the issue of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. Sexual misconduct in any form, in any situation is clearly unacceptable."
His remarks come just two months after an investigation by a former Supreme Court justice condemned the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in Canada's armed forces.