Sexual Hazing And Two Mysterious Deaths Disgrace German NavyJanuary 26, 2011 No Comments
The pride of the German navy, Gorch Fock, has come under a cloud of suspicion as sexual harassment and bullying claims arise during the investigation into the mysterious deaths of two women.
One drowned and the other fell from one of the masts. The parents of the drowned marine are calling for an investigation into their daughter’s death, while friends of the naval trainee claim she was bullied into climbing the mast.
These are not the only hazing claims made by those on board the ship, it was revealed in a leaked parliamentary report. Massive amounts of alcohol consumption are commonplace and underlings are forced to scrub the resulting vomit off the deck. While intoxicated, officers have also threatened to kill cadets.
Both men and women have complained about being propositioned by personnel on board.
“It was like being in jail on the ship,” one male cadet told investigators. “Every new recruit had to offer up his arse.”
Stories of sexual abuse and bullying are common in the military. When ships only carried male sailors, treating women like sex objects was encouraged by the higher ups as a way to ensure the crew would not engage in homosexual activity. Bullying and hazing were also traditional techniques used to create a bond among the men.
Although women have been in the US navy since 1918, the marines still haven’t gotten used to the idea.
One third of women enlisted in the US military have been raped by their brothers-in-arms and two thirds report being sexually assaulted. However, most rapes are not brought to the attention of the military police. Almost all the women surveyed, 90 percent, reported sexual harassment.
Although this is a serious and widespread problem, the punishments meted out to American personnel are often lenient. Over 60 percent involve non-criminal sentences, such as demotion, suspension, or a written reprimand.
Hellmut Königshaus, the parliamentary ombudsman for the German armed forces, said that in order to combat the problem there would be an “equal opportunities officer” hired.
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