INJ20K – IT’S NOT JUST 20K RESPONSE TO ARTICLES BY DAVID PUGLIESE CONCERNING INJ700 & INJ20K FROM 2021 TO 2023
REFERENCES: INJ20K Blog Post 22 March 2023
“Bullets of Truth”
Since the fall of 2021, the reporter David Pugliese has written a number of articles that have highlighted activities by the Facebook group “It’s Not Just 700” (INJ700). In 2022, with its mission complete, this old Facebook group was closed in favour of a new MST survivor group on Facebook called, “It’s Not Just 20K” (INJ20K). This past couple of months has seen a flurry of news articles and accompanying Twitter posts by Mr. Pugliese and others condemning the many things the Co-Founders dreamed INJ20K could become when it came to providing easily accessible free info and resources for MST support.
As a result, there are a number of angry Twitter posts directed at INJ20K claiming the Founders have “fractured the MST community”. In an attempt influence some peace of mind for many, Sam has gathered some bullet points to make it easier to catch up what has happened in the past 24 months that Sam, Lori and a handful of caring volunteer tried to create a safe space for Canadian MST survivors to connect and collaborate while engaging in educational and MST impact awareness activities.
Sam humbly asks you to weigh these notes in comparison to the misinformation being dispersed about INJ20K before judging harshly, as the plethora of inaccurate information and rumours is creating a lot of stress for many MST survivors. Apologies for the elongated missive, but there is lots to unpack…..
The Difference Between INJ700 & INJ20K and Why INJ20K was Founded in April 2022
Most of this evolution is already specified on our www.inj20K.ca website, but main bullet points are:
Ø IJ700 was being shutdown by the Founder in March 2021.
Ø In order to keep a Facebook group going, the Founder of IJ700 agreed we could retain the group but the name had to be changed as only the survivor support was planned to continue.
Ø There were no plans to continue the stellar political advocacy that had been done by the Founder of IJ700 when Dr. Lori Buchart was asked to manage the Facebook group of MST survivors.
Ø The name “It’s Not Just 700” was chosen, and the Facebook group was renamed.
Ø INJ700 was a transitory/temporary group maintained for the MST survivors formerly of IJ700 to ensure they still had a safe space for support until SMRC stood up the professional Peer Support platform.
Ø Lori eventually asked Sam to take on social media duties for INJ700, but she reiterated that she was not interested in political advocacy, just MST impact awareness and educating on trauma-informed practices.
Ø Lori and Sam were on the same page as the focus was just going to be ensuring the planned Peer Support Program by SMRC did not get cancelled.
Ø Our decision to not continuing advocating in the “IJ700 way” was not received well by many, but there were already others involved in political advocacy, so we did not think our plan was a problem.
Ø Neither Lori nor Sam planned on continuing to Admin/Moderate any MST Groups on Facebook as a number of MST support groups had started up on Facebook with the Class Action deadline coming up in November 2022.
Ø The initial thought for INJ700 was to create a governance structure that could easily become a not-for-profit (N4P) organization capable of applying for grants to create education and awareness events for persons impacted by MST and those supporting or treating them.
Ø Despite agreeing to the INJ700 Private Facebook Group rules, there was a significant volume of complaints of member-to-member bullying made to Admins & Moderators, and some people took exception to being asked to be more respectful, and voluntarily left the INJ700 Group for other newly created Facebook Groups with less rules and moderating.
Ø Many INJ700 members thought we would continue with political advocacy work and were not happy when we reiterated our proposed plan was just awareness and education on trauma-informed care.
Ø The plan for INJ700 was to connecting with Clinicians and researchers, while building and maintaining a website of as many resources as we could gather.
Ø When INJ700 Group members were told the Group would not exist once SMRC started providing professional Peer Support, many asked that a private space still be maintained on Facebook for connecting with other MST survivors.
Ø Many Group members agreed that a more positive and respectful space was wanted as the Facebook had swelled to over 600 members after to the announcement of the CAF Class Action settlement.
Ø There had been no process in place to verify that this large influx of INJ700 Facebook group members were truly serving or retired CAF members.
Ø In order to create this new safer Facebook group with better personal security screening and more clear & stringent rules of behaviour with a process for violations, all Facebook group members consulted felt it was easiest to just start a new Private Facebook group so those interested in connection, education, and research had a dedicated space to connect.
Ø All INJ700 Facebook group members were advised in January 2022 that once SMRC got their Peer Support online, we would be deleting the INJ700 Facebook group.
Ø All current members were invited to review the new Facebook Group rules and invited to join if they agreed with our rationale for future education and awareness activities, and agreed with the enhanced Member safety rules that we shared within the INJ700 Facebook Group.
Ø When advised that SMRC would have Peer Support online in April 2022, in March 2022 we started helping people migrate to the new Facebook Group, INJ20K.
Ø Many had already joined other MST support groups on Facebook.
Ø Only about 100 INJ700 members opted to join the INJ20K Community Hub as we made it clear it would remain a positive space free of disturbing/triggering news articles
Relationship with SPCG in 2021
Ø As IJ700 was starting to wind down, a small group of MST survivors started a consulting group that would later become a business that provide MST awareness and information to the CAF through in-person and online course delivery.
Ø Donna Riguidel, MJ Batek, Carly Arkell and Cassandra Hoya all co-Founded, Survivors Perspective Consulting Group (SPCG).
Ø Believing that there would be nothing once the INJ700 Facebook group was finished, Sam accepted an invite to join SPCG as an advisor and facilitator.
Ø Sam helped review the training course package and provided suggestions for improvement.
Ø As a retired DND Procurement & Contracting Supervisor, Sam advised Donna to lock down her course IP (Intellectual property) as soon as possible as that would be key to any contract awards from the CAF/DND.
Ø Sam was initially unaware this course would become a sales product, and since she was not interested in facilitating as a paid Contractor, she wished SPCG well and accepted Lori’s request to stay volunteering with INJ700.
Ø Shortly after Sam left SPCG, Donna posted in the INJ700 Facebook group about looking for survivor stories, and a complaint was made to the Facebook group Admins as promoting your business was against the Facebook Group rules.
Ø Lori asked Donna to remove her post and not solicit for survivor stories from within the INJ700 Facebook group.
Ø In a personal exchange of disagreement about SPCG with another INJ700 Admin, Donna was removed from the INJ700 Facebook group without consultation with the other group Admins.
Ø Lori explained to Donna that it was not a sanctioned removal, apologized to her, and invited Donna to rejoin the INJ700 Facebook group, but Donna declined.
Ø Donna asked INJ700 to promote her workshop during their engagements, so anytime Sam was asked about the SPCG course she always said it was a great way to bring MST impact awareness to large groups.
“Meeting of the Minds” Zoom Meetings in 2021
Ø In the summer of 2021, Lori reached out to connect with as many Veteran and/or MST advocates as were interested to join in on a monthly Zoom call hosted by INJ700.
Ø Many people with advocacy and education credentials were invited from the MST Community, including Donna Riguidel, Diane Rose, Rosemary Park, Walter Callaghan, Eleanor Taylor and Annalise Schamuhn, with an open invitation to anyone else interested.
Ø Everyone used the first couple of Zoom meetings well until the meetings turned into some participants criticizing how INJ700 was no longer advocating the way IJ700 had been.
Ø Again it was reiterated that there had never been any intention to continue the political advocacy done by the IJ700 Facebook group, as INJ700 was a new Facebook group with a different focus.
Ø With a lack of positive progress in collaborating with other MST survivors, no further meetings were scheduled, but an invitation to connect anytime remained open.
The E-Mails to Media, Deputy Ministers & Senior CAF Leadership 2022
Ø In April 2022, Lori & Sam with a small group of caring MST survivor volunteers officially launched a new website called INJ20K.
Ø INJ20K evolution and the plans to create a safe and respectful private space on Facebook by continuing to engage in educating & advocating for more trauma-informed responses by CAF/DND/VAC was highlighted on the website.
Ø Within a week or so of the launch of INJ20K, there was an e-mail sent to senior CAF leaders warning about another email coming that would show that Lori and Sam were frauds, stated they may even be lying about their MST and military service, and stated that they had been reported to Stolen Valour.
Ø On or about 19 April 2022, another email did come out and was sent to all major news outlets, any government department or organizations that Lori had built a bridge with, and many senior DND/CAF and Veterans Affair leaders.
Ø This e-mail included false/inaccurate info about their professional credentials as educators and advocates, attacked their character, and dismissed their MST as invalid because Lori and Sam are Reservists.
Ø Many of these e-mail recipients reached out to confirm whether these allegations targeted specifically at Lori & Sam were true.
Ø The e-mail had been sent and re-shared widely, so it was impossible to provide the truth to everyone that may have received the reputation damaging e-mail.
Ø This damage became evident as meeting and engagement chats with Lori & Sam were being cancelled, and some people they had built bridges with no longer seemed available.
Ø It seemed the best way to reach those people with the truth was to publicly address each false piece of info in the 19 April 2022 e-mail.
Ø After the contents of the harassing and defamatory email and their clarifications of each falsehood were shared on the INJ20K Facebook page, a member of the “crafting quartet” came forward to profusely apologize for her part in composing the e-mail.
Ø This person took responsibility for her actions, and provided details on how things had come about: who was mainly involved, provided e-mail evidence on how the damaging e-mail was composed, and identified who had sent it from e-mail account labelled cdnveteransofmst @gmail.com.
Ø On 5 May 2022 David Pugliese wrote an article referencing the 19 April 2022 e-mail he had received from Canadian Veterans of MST.
The Private Lawsuit
Ø The Ottawa Citizen news article was posted on many news sites and generated more concerned queries being sent to Lori Buchart.
Ø Due to the damage this was causing Lori’s academic reputation, Lori paid out of pocket for a legal “Cease and Desist” letter to be sent to the “crafting quartet” to try and ensure no further defamation and end the harassment peaceably.
Ø The letter requested legal costs be divided between the four people reported to Lori, and an apology to Lori that could be posted on our INJ20K feeds for incorrectly attributing our new INJ20K Facebook group with old Facebook INJ700 group issues that had been highlighted in the damaging e-mail.
Ø Two of the quartet immediately apologized, and one paid their portion of legal fees.
Ø In lieu of a public apology, the person that paid their portion of the legal costs sent a retraction e-mail and apology to all the CAF leaders they had previously sent a warning to with a copy to Sam.
Ø The other two which had been reported as composing and sending the damaging email refused to take any responsibility for participating in composing, and denied sending the email.
Ø Lori and Sam hoped that once they had shown the quartet what info they were incorrect in, a simple “Cease and Desist” letter would stop their harassment.
Ø Two of the quartet stated via lawyer and personal e-mail that they firmly believed that they had done nothing wrong.
Ø Without the full quartet apology, the reputations of Lori & Sam along with INJ20K group intent was still compromised, so Lori tried to file a Statement of Claim without a lawyer.
Ø The first claim did not have enough detail on why and what the claim was for, and Lori also forgot to stipulate where the $50K x 2 was to be donated, so the Judge dismissed that claim and gave Lori 60 days to re-file.
Ø The second attempt to file a Statement of Claim stipulated that $10K x 2 was to be donated to Soldier On for a MST survivor appropriate activity.
Ø This second attempt at a Statement of Claim now included too much detail that could be construed as evidence.
Ø The Judge dismissed the claim due to these admin issues with a clear note on file that it was due to procedure not lack of merit.
Ø This was a private civil matter, but after the second court dismissal, the same day of the dismissal, reporter David Pugliese had all the details and reached out to Lori and Sam for comment.
Ø Mr. Pugliese was provided comments and subsequently wrote an article focusing on Lori and INJ20K suing other survivors for money.
The 2022 Symposium
Ø In late spring of 2021, there was an education & awareness symposium put on with a MINDS Targeted Engagement grant that looked at bringing Persons With Lived Experience (PWLE) together with Clinicians and Researchers to better understand how to be more trauma-informed in care and treatment.
Ø Many survivors (PWLE) from the INJ700 Facebook group participated in that 2021 Symposium, so Lori and Sam wondered if there would be interest in doing another one, but this time with PWLE in key development areas to help build their confidence.
Ø There was interest, so a university with an established Trauma Research lab was asked if they would do a similar symposium, but this time use as many PWLE as possible in the planning & organizing.
Ø This university made a proposal to MINDS for a Targeted Engagement Grant that was later accepted, so a “Restoring Hearts and Minds” symposium planning committee was formed that combined researchers, clinicians and MST survivors (PWLE).
Ø Once themes were identified in 2022, a call for panelist resumes went out and were blind vetted for each theme suitability.
Ø Registration as a participant was open to anyone interested in being better informed on MST issues.
Ø All sessions being held 16, 23 & 30 November were pre-recorded and edited to ensure safety of panelists, but each session was to end with a live Q&A between panelists and registered participants from around the world.
Ø In the last 30 November 2022 session, the Q&A was dominated by a number of personal questions & harassing comments directed towards a Moderator from a registered participant that was identified as one of the aforementioned 19 April 2021 “crafting quartet” people.
Ø Following the symposium, Lori & Sam received screenshots of posts made by this participant in her private Facebook group, Canadian Veterans of MST indicating plans to take care of “these numpties”.
Ø The most disturbing one is from 30 Nov 2022 where this participant tells everyone that she received several emails of care and concern immediately after the Symposium, so quote, “Lets have some fun”, unquote.
Ø Due to the seriousness of the allegations of abuse towards this participant, an independent third party review was contracted by the CAF, which meant that anyone connected with supporting the Hearts & Minds Symposium has had to remain silent until the review was completed.
Ø Sam has no idea whether the CAF review will be shared publically, and has not seen it.
Ø On 2 Dec 2022 David Pugliese wrote an article condemning the symposium panelists for belittling a rape survivor, and rehashed his past articles involving INJ700 & INJ20K being bullies and suing other survivors.
Ø The symposium was valid as professional credits for Clinicians, so the symposium platform included sending participation certificates automatically to any registered participant.
Ø On 9 Dec 2022 David Pugliese wrote an article belittling the CAF for sending this survivor a certificate of participation in the symposium without noting that this certificate was sent automatically to all registered participants.
Ø When the INJ700 Facebook group conduct rules were enforced, and after the requisite warnings, many of those members have gone online calling INJ700 leadership, “bullies that silence survivors”.
Ø Based on the messages and e-mails the INJ20K e-mail account has received from numerous MST survivors, along with Facebook and Twitter post screenshots being sent to Lori & Sam, the main complaint seems to be that the INJ20K Facebook group is not advocating the way IJ700 used to and kicks people out of the Facebook group “just for asking questions”.
Ø The INJ20K private Facebook group was launched 1 April 2022 and no one has been removed to date.
Ø Citing the David Pugliese article regarding the symposium, some people are under the impression that INJ20K has received money from CAF/DND.
Ø INJ20K has not received “one red cent”, nor any contract for services from the CAF/DND.
Ø With only a handful of volunteers left at INJ20K, any INJ20K positive development plans and set up of a proper N4P organization have been derailed and put on indefinite hold.
Ø Sam receives a fresh batch of hateful messages every time David Pugliese posts another article where he takes partial statements taken out of context and rehashes his previous ones pertaining to INJ700 & INJ20K.
Ø Mr. Pugliese continues to repeat reposting the same older articles on his Twitter feed.
Ø This week Sam received an e-mail through the INJ20K website telling her to kill herself.
Closing Points to Address Rumours Going Around
Ø The INJ700 Facebook group was established to follow through the Class Action requirement of a formal Peer Support Program established by CAF Sexual Misconduct Resource Centre (SMRC) and had no connection to the advocacy work that had been done by IJ700.
Ø The INJ700 dream in March 2021 was to somehow gather as many MST survivors as possible under a unified voice of collaboration.
Ø By December 2021 it became clear that would be impossible with so many survivors with different needs on different places in their healing journey.
Ø INJ700 & INJ20K have always stated that Lori & Sam do not speak on behalf of all MST survivors, only the ones heard from, typically mainly from within the INJ20K Facebook group.
Ø The INJ20K Facebook group rules of conduct and admin procedure for violations has been established through internal consultation and agreed to by anyone joining.
Ø The rules are applied to all Members, and are cited whenever someone is suspended in the private INJ20K Facebook group.
Ø Dr. Lori Buchart completed the time she promised to commit to the Facebook groups INJ700 and INJ20K, and she is no longer affiliated to INJ20K.
Ø The priority in the INJ20K Facebook group is to maintain a safe and tranquil space for MST survivors to connect, free from disturbing or triggering news articles.
Ø INJ20K is NOT a non-profit organization (N4P) and they do NOT seek or receive grants or funds from any entity.
Ø Unless INJ20K does someday become a N4P, they will never lobby for grants of funds to be allocated to anyone anywhere.
Ø INJ20K will continue supporting any survivor that comes to them for help that can respect the volunteer aspect of what we are trying to accomplish despite our own traumas.
Ø INJ20K has zero tolerance for bullying whether it be within the private Facebook group, or on any of their social media platforms.
Ø As the current volunteer leader of INJ20K, Sam will continue to seek out resources for the website, and participate privately as a MST survivor in educational/research opportunities that she can share within the private INJ20K Facebook group, or public Facebook page as appropriate.
Ø Sam reiterates that she has no intention of entering into political lobbying or political activism, but she states that anyone choosing to do so is welcome to it with sincere wishes for success.
Message from Sam:
It is my hope that this will help relieve some of the disturbing rumours being spread throughout the MST survivor community as it truly breaks my heart every time I read a post or receive a message that someone is upset about what they heard about INJ20K. While it also depresses me, I also take heart in knowing that it is shortage of unbiased information out there, and it is expressed by people that have never met or know me.
My focus has not changed since 2021, and that is to promote awareness and understanding on how to interact in a trauma-informed manner with MST survivors by sharing my lived experience, and the lived experience of any other MST survivor that also wants to share.
I sincerely applaud anyone that is trying to make this poor world a better place. For me personally, I prefer to use as much positive energy as I can muster because I spent too many years raging against the “machine” with minimal results.
For the past 30 years I have tried to focus on more positive and encouraging approaches as my children do not deserve to have an angry all the time Mom. I am choosing better over bitter I always say.
I also have no interest in fame or fortune, just helping others as much as I am able in my semi-retirement. I have never said I had all the answers, but I plan to find as many as I can and share them whenever I can. I am truly not perfect, just trying to get from surviving to thriving.
Therefore, as the sole person responsible for INJ20K social media platforms, I will no longer engage in Twitter arguments trying to correct any impression of any hidden agenda. Going forward it is very important for my healing journey to avoid platforms, people and places that negatively impact my mental health and healing journey.
Culture change in any organization is a huge, very complicated arena with so many intersectionalities, but I have been privileged to meet and volunteer with many that sincerely want to see positive changes. All I humbly ask is that you educate yourself, think critically about the information being presented, and ask questions.
Please give others and yourself some grace when mistakes are made.
I sincerely hope we can also create a better place where respect and survivor centric policies are paramount, with trauma-informed care a default for MST survivors!
Please take care of you.
Ciao for now,
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Sam Samplonius, CD
INJ20K – IT’S NOT JUST 20K STATEMENT ON MND ANAND REPORT ON MADAME ARBOUR’s RECOMMENDATIONS TABLED
By Ryan Tumilty, National Post Published Dec 13, 2022
We have read with great interest the report tabled by Minister Anand on 13 December 2022, as along with other MST Survivor support groups we have been involved in many briefings and updates provided by the CAF, Chief Professional Conduct & Culture (CPCC) and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC). We were pleased to hear that all 48 recommendations carefully researched and provided by Madame Arbour are now all accepted by the Department of National Defence.
The full report by Minister Anand can be found on our website here: https://inj20k.ca/research-and-reports
While we agree the Minister’s report is a good roadmap and summary on what has been done to date, the report only elucidated work being done or planned for the initial 17 recommendations immediately accepted by DND. For clarity it would be nice to have all 48 recommendations laid out in an order of priority that they are being considered for implementation. More details on the progress/status of each of the 48 recommendations would be appreciated. For instance, breaking down each recommendation in order of priority, what needs to be done to accomplish it, specific needs/challenges (i.e. resources required, any legislative change requirements etc.), and proposed target dates for completion of all 48 recommendations.
We support any initiative or review that addresses eradicating sexual misconduct and sexual assault in the CAF. The transferring of sexual assault cases to the civilian court system is one such initiative, however we would prefer to see victims & survivors still be given a choice wherever possible as some survivors have indicated to us that they would prefer being consulted on where their case will be processed and prosecuted. Frankly both court systems have their pros and cons, but the military justice system has lost credibility and trust with many members creating an impression that the civilian courts will provide better justice. The passing of Bill C-77 will hopefully further strengthen the military justice system and align it with the civilian criminal justice system while adhering to the unique requirements of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), but trust in the military justice system will have to be rebuilt.
The acceptance of the recommendation to commit to an in-depth review of the military colleges system is also welcomed as many reports and reviews point to looking at how new recruits are screened and enrolled as being a key factor in CAF culture change. New recruits choosing the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) offered by the military colleges will eventually become the Commissioned Officer level of supervision and guidance in the CAF. These officers along with CAF Non-Commissioned Members require a degree of leadership training that ensures all members of the CAF are treated with respect and dignity regardless of gender or race. We hope that the planned review will be carried out thoroughly and swiftly to ensure expedient changes are implemented quickly.
INJ20K is a grassroots volunteer advocacy team established in February 2022 for those who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with a mandate is to collect information, resources and research for the INJ20K website that may be able to assist any victim or survivor of Military Sexual Trauma on a healing journey. INJ20K also maintains a Private Facebook group called our “Community Hub” to help facilitate connections between MST survivors across Canada.
In continuing service as ambassadors of hope.
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Sam Samplonius, CD