SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International
Get the latest defense news from around the world: breaking stories, photos, videos, in-depth analysis and much more...

Think Twice: Why Women Should Be Wary of Military Service

© AP Photo / Greg Baker / A ground crew member walks towards the tail of a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker protruding from a hanger at Kadena Air Base on Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa (File)
A ground crew member walks towards the tail of a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker protruding from a hanger at Kadena Air Base on Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa (File) - Sputnik International
The recent spate of allegations against individuals from various realms has also affected the military. Female service members are sharing their stories of being verbally or sexually abused, highlighting the momentum of the #MeToo movement. Here are the most resonant sex-scandals that the armed forces have been embroiled in.

Combat Barbie

The 30-year-old Katrina Hodge was dubbed “Combat Barbie” when she joined the army aged 17, arriving on her very first day sporting kitten heels and holding a case full of pink clothes. Despite her girlish appearance, a year later, in 2005, 18-year-old Hodge proved that she was as determined as any of her comrades when she saved the lives of five soldiers and was decorated for her bravery in Iraq. However, her comrades, who she now describes as a “sexist boy club,” allegedly went as far as to bully her, claiming that the story of her act of bravery was made up.

Besides verbally abusing her, they once threw a can of coke at her head in the canteen. She keeps receiving sexist comments and messages even though she had already left the army after reaching the rank of corporal. After winning the beauty pageant Miss England 2009, Hodge has been using her publicity to share the story about the years of sexist attacks and encourages women to join the forces.

Sex and Drugs on Nuclear Submarine

The story of Combat Barbie is by far not the most scandalous in the Royal Armed Forces. In October 2017, reports of two high-ranking HMS Vigilant submarine officials having sexual relations (which is forbidden between serving personnel on the same vessel) with two different women surfaced. One of the women was identified as Sub-Lieutenant Rebecca Edwards, while the man appeared to be none other than Commander Stuart Armstrong.

READ MORE: 'Dramatic Rise' in Child Sex Offences in UK

Lieutenant Commander Michael Seal was also removed amid claims of an extra-marital affair with a female engineering officer, Lieutenant Hannah Litchfield. In late October, nine sailors were kicked off the same nuclear submarine for testing positive for class A drugs.

'Marine United' Nudes Scandal

In March 2017, the United States Armed Forces witnessed a huge scandal after it emerged that a closed Facebook group, called “Marines United,” where hundreds of nude photos of female service members were distributed. The group, encompassing about 30,000 active duty and retired members of the US Armed Forces and British Royal Marines, included links to Dropbox and Google Drive providing access to more images. “Marines United” was shut down, although members of the original group are said to have been redirected to other groups.

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (File) - Sputnik International
Rabbi Faces Criminal Charges Over Allegedly Having Sex With Underage Prostitute

“The purported actions of civilian and military personnel on social media websites, including some associated with the Marines United group and possibly others, represent egregious violations of the fundamental values we uphold at the Department of Defense,” James Mattis, US Defense Minister said. “Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion. We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.”

West Point Rape Claims

The number of sexual assaults reported at the US Military Academy at West Point doubled last year, with 50 cases in the 2016-2017 school year compared to 26 cases in the 2015-2016 year. At the same time, reports suggest that assault cases rose at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and dropped at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, going from 49 reported in 2015 to 32.

Sexual Misconduct in the Bundeswehr

According to reports, there were 234 cases of sexual misconduct in the German military in 2017 compared to 128 in 2016. In November 2011, it was reported that two female soldiers had been raped at the Toderdorf barracks in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. The rapes of the young women were allegedly committed by a 29-year-old man and filmed by another soldier.

READ MORE: Bundeswehr Promoting Transgender Person to Commander Post Sparks Twitter Storm

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told Bild that the fact that service members have started to reporting incidents of rape was a “positive sign.”

"In society, sexual assaults are punished and equally, they are punished in the Bundeswehr. We want a climate of openness in the troops, in which everyone has the confidence to report injustice and violence. It is a positive sign, that supervisors and teams are more likely to report incidents," she said.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала