Army reports on suicide of young female soldier who suffered relentless sexual harassment.
October 9, 2023
Army reports on young female soldier who suffered relentless sexual harassment.
Two years on from publication of a review by the UK’s Defence Committee on Women in the Armed Forces: From Recruitment to Civilian Life (parliament.uk) another internal investigation has found that a young woman soldier took her own life in major part because of the relentless harassment she experienced from her boss.
The teenage Royal Artillery Gunner took her own life in December 2021 following two months of harassment from her line commander in the form of voicemails and texts, and deliberately arranging tasks to ensure he would be working with her. The investigation by the Army made direct reference to the impact this controlling behaviour had on the young woman’s mental health.
Their report went on to say: "It was commonplace amongst a significant minority of soldiers within Larkhill Garrison." One witness described routinely receiving comments from male soldiers that she described as"vile" and "degrading".
A colleague had reported the senior officer’s behaviour to the young woman further up the line of command, but the outcome of that was that the man involved was given a minor sanction and told to write the teenager a letter of apology. The investigation team acknowledged this "may have influenced her failure to report other events that happened subsequently". These subsequent events included physical sexual assault and stalking.
SecurityWomen supports the recommendations of the Defence Committee’s 2021 report that complaints should be dealt with outside of the line of command, independent of the Army, with perpetrators being subject to civilian justice. In response to the 2021 report the Ministry of Defence, stated they would develop a defence-wide strategy for handling serious sexual offences. This sad case emphasises the need for this to happen without further delay.
For the full story please see: Dead soldier suffered relentless sexual harassment - Army report - BBC News
Other sources: Protecting those who protect us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life: UK Government Response to the Committee’s Second Report of Session 2021-22(parliament.uk)
“Protecting those who Protect Us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life,” (UK Defence Select Committee’s Report, chaired by Sarah Atherton MP, 2021)
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