Dear Brigadier-General Bouchard,
Thank you for your kind words, Sir. I am deeply gratified by this letter to the editor and extremely appreciative of your explicit declaration of support for my book. It was somewhat unexpected, to say the least, to receive such an open endorsement and encouragement from the Commandant of RMC suggesting to cadets and graduates alike that they read The Stone Frigate. I’m delighted. I hadn’t anticipated the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the College. It would be my honour to accept any invitation to visit RMC and share my experiences with present day Officer Cadets and whomever you deem appropriate.
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments that our culture is changing. Those changes have made it possible for my book to be published and received in the spirit such as you have done, Sir. My hope in writing my story was, and remains, to open a dialogue with victims of sexism and sexual abuse. Any time there is sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional abuse – whether we are raped or molested or our bodies were the objects of jokes or obscene comments or leers – our sense of self is vitally damaged. Shame and confusion will arise and affect our ability to make good choices and take care of ourselves. No human being should ever have to live in such an unsafe environment or be subjected to those horrific behaviours.
I’m proud to be an RMC graduate; I always have been. RMC alumni are a powerhouse of leadership in Canada within the military, and every corner of our economy and culture. We’re out there everywhere, running companies and doing all manner of amazing jobs. That’s why it is so important for us to get it right. If RMC is willing to squarely face and address and heal the inequality dynamics at play in our culture, then we can rightfully claim ourselves as graduates of a leadership institution that embraces the values – for real and not just pretending – which are truly reflective of the best of Canada and our progressive attitudes and cultural aspects.
I believe that is worth striving toward.
14390 Kate Armstrong