My name is Anne Marie Robinson. I am sharing my story because I want the public and policy makers to understand how deeply damaging teacher-on-student sexual exploitation can be. My high school music teacher sexually exploited me in the 1970s. My story is available by clicking HERE.
So why am I here? After coming to terms with what happened to me personally, I had the following thought ...
... what happened to me was a long time ago, but surely the system is fixed now and this can no longer be happening, at least not very often!
So I decided to research the issue and found out how wrong I was. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection reported that 750 children were sexually exploited by their teachers between 1997 and 2017. Sadly, given weak reporting systems, bystander denial, and fear of reprisal, we know the real number of cases is much higher.
So back to my story.
Notwithstanding a long period of mental illness after quitting school to get away from my high school music teacher, I eventually made it to university and had a good career in the federal public service where I rose to the rank of Deputy Minister. My last post was that of President of the Public Service Commission of Canada.
The only reason that this is an important part of this story is because throughout my career I have gained significant expertise in the design and management of independent institutions and so I examined the policies and institutional structures used across Canada to protect children from being sexually exploited by their teachers from that perspective. I talked to many victims, some academic experts, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and I reviewed the literature, media, relevant legislation and what little policy information was publically available from every Province and Territory.
I was 'gobsmacked' by how weak the systems are, the multiplicity of conflicts of interest, how often this still happens and I am truly puzzled as to why this issue has flown under the radar for so long.
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE!
Of all the institutions on the planet, our schools must have the highest standards of child protection. After all, students are required by law to attend school.
I thought that somehow the strength that I had built up over my life would protect me from the harms done to me in high school. But it did not. When by happenstance I ran into my high school music teacher in September of 2014 I completely fell apart. I was shortly thereafter diagnosed with delayed onset PTSD, anxiety and depression. My brain turned to mush and I could longer work.
We all have different ways of coping with trauma and mine was to bury and deny all the feelings associated with it. This almost destroyed me but with the help of many years of therapy and support I am beginning to put things into perspective.
The only reason I am telling my story today is because I want people to know that this type of trauma can last a lifetime. When a relationship between an adult in a position of trust and authority, and a child, is sexualized, the damage lasts a lifetime.
I DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN ANYMORE.
When I matched up my experience as a survivor of teacher sexual exploitation with my work experience as a Deputy Minister in the Federal Public Service, I was horrified with what I have learned.
So along with my colleagues from SECE and a great amount of support from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, we have produced the paper posted this site. It represents our understanding of the problem and what we believe to be the best solutions for managing it.
Please ask your MPs, MPPs, MLAs to implement fully independent legislative bodies to investigate and manage these cases. This, along with early-in-life victim support and restitution, will make the world of difference in preventing abuse and reducing the harm for those who are victims of abuse.
READ OUR ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Below is my more formal bio, which outlines my career prior to my accidental meeting with my high school music teacher
Anne-Marie Robinson was appointed acting President of the Public Service Commission (PSC) effective January 1, 2012. From June 2010 until her appointment as acting President of the PSC, she was Associate Deputy Minister of Health.
Ms. Robinson began her public service career in 1990 as an auditor for Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise. In 1993, she joined the Management Trainee Program and completed assignments at Industry Canada and Indian Affairs and Northern Development. From 1995 to 1997, Ms. Robinson held senior policy advisor positions related to Aboriginal policy at the Department of Human Resources and the Privy Council Office. In 1997, Ms. Robinson returned to Indian Affairs and Northern Development where she served as Director of Policy for the Specific Claims Program. In the fall of 2000, she joined the Accelerated Executive Development Program and completed two assignments at Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada: Director, Litigation Portfolio Operations and Director General, Litigation Management Branch.
In June 2002, Ms. Robinson joined the PSC as Director General, Policy and Legislation. In November 2003, she became Vice-President, Corporate Management Branch. In October 2008, she became Assistant Deputy Minister, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, at Health Canada, a position she held until June 2010.
Ms. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Sciences and an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Brock University, and a Master’s of Science degree in Business Studies with a specialisation in organizational design and human resources management from Salford University in England.