Nearly two in three women in the UK military have experienced sexual abuse, discrimination or bullying. That appears according to The Guardian from a parliamentary inquiry. It states that the army “fails to protect” the female soldiers.
4,106 women participated in the study, both current military personnel and veterans. 62 percent of them say they have seen or experienced “unacceptable behaviour.” The report shows that there are stories of gang rapes, sex for promotion and ‘women scoring competitions’. Women are also bullied because they refused sexual advances or saw girlfriends being attacked by men, but were afraid to report it.
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Six in ten women say they do not report abuse. Of those who did, a third rate that experience as “extremely bad.” British MP Sarah Atherton and chair of the committee for women in the army says the stories paint a “difficult picture” for women. “A woman who has been raped in the military usually has to continue working with the perpetrator, for fear that her career will be damaged if she speaks out.”
The report argues for a new reporting system that would make women feel safer to report crimes. Researchers also propose that the treatment of rape and sexual assault should be transferred to the civil justice system. In the military court, 16 percent of rape cases between 2015 and 2020 led to conviction, compared to 34 percent in civil court.
In the Netherlands too, women in the army have to deal with ‘transgressive behaviour’ and ‘socially unsafe situations’. That became clear last month from a thesis by cadet Irina Tziamali. Female cadets are not considered complete as soldiers. Male cadets tend to think of them as ‘prey’ or ‘slut’.