Repeated efforts by these women to have their complaints of sexual abuse, discrimination and harassment investigated seriously, and credibly, have failed
A fully independent investigation is required to determine the extent of sexual abuse, harassment and assault in the defence forces, according to Social Democrats Defence Spokesperson Gary Gannon.
“Women Of Honour, an RTE documentary broadcast today (Saturday, September 11), contained horrifying stories of female members of the defence forces being sexually degraded, harassed, abused and assaulted.
“Journalist Kate Hannon interviewed eight brave whistle-blowers, five of whom have spoken publicly about the disgusting abuse they suffered for the first time. Seven of these women reported their abuse, but, shockingly, no male officer was ever charged with any sexual crime.
“The women subjected to this violent and degrading treatment have been left scarred, personally and professionally, by the abuse they suffered. Meanwhile, the careers of their male abusers flourished, as they walked away with barely a slap on the wrist.
“It is clear that there remains a culture of bullying, misogyny and discrimination against women that is not only tolerated, but continues to thrive in today’s defence forces. This is not acceptable. Neither are attempts by the defence forces, and the Department of Defence, to brush this scandal under a rug. Repeated efforts by these women to have their complaints of sexual abuse, discrimination and harassment investigated seriously, and credibly, have failed.
“The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence is meeting on Wednesday and I will be raising this issue and calling for representatives of the army, the naval service and the aircorps to come to our Committee as a matter of urgency and answer questions about the manner in which they investigate complaints of this nature and the support mechanisms that are in place for women who make complaints against male colleagues.
“I will further be calling for the Minister for Defence, and the Secretary General of his Department, to come to our Committee to answer questions about the length of time he has been aware of these complaints and to request an independent investigation into this toxic culture.”
11 September, 2021