St. John’s NL, October 23, 2013 – No One to Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP, the long-awaited memoir by former RCMP member and Newfoundlander Janet Merlo, launches officially today.
In 1991, Janet Merlo realized her dream of becoming a member of Canada’s national police force. Twenty years later, a pervasive culture of sexual harassment had led her to disillusionment and severe stress, and made her job as a police officer untenable. Today, she is representative plaintiff in a proposed class action lawsuit against the RCMP involving almost 300 women. No One to Tell is the story of that journey.
When we associate the words RCMP and bravery, we shape a picture of honorable law enforcement officers fighting the good fight and taking extraordinary risks to uphold the law and protect the people they signed up to serve. This memoir is about a different kind of bravery. It is about the attempts of one person to uphold the oath she took despite systemic gender harassment and discrimination within the very same organization. Faced with the ambiguity of her circumstances and the overarching need to make peace with her conscience, Janet Merlo spoke out about the need for change. Over a 20-year period she paid the price for that and saw her dream of a fulfilling career in one of Canada’s most respected institutions end painfully. To quote journalist and author Linden MacIntyre, “No One to Tell is a sad account of history and human nature, a story of idealism dying slowly, and of the anger and the gaps left behind by lost ideals . . .”
“Is it brave to speak out and suffer the consequences of systemic discrimination? You bet. But showing the strength and leadership to face the public scrutiny that comes with telling all, staying true to your ideals, and doing what’s right to fix what’s broken is taking bravery to the highest level,” says Rebecca Rose, President and Publisher at Breakwater Books.
Despite her experiences, Janet sees past the few who have abused their power and acknowledges the integrity of the majority of her colleagues. This is a brave account because it is grounded in the notion of doing right and protecting the interests of other women. To come to this place, still committed to the ideal that we should never allow a few to compromise the integrity of institutions that many have worked hard to build, is something from which we can all take a lesson.
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