4 in 10 women in the military victims of sexual harassment, new survey finds

Army conducted a survey with 7,000 soldiers

Rose Troup Buchanan
Tuesday 14 July 2015 10:28 BST
Female British Army recuits in the first stage of training
Female British Army recuits in the first stage of training

Almost 40 per cent of servicewomen were victims of sexual harassment last year, a new survey claims.

The results, taken from a study of 7,000 female British Army soldiers, also found that the vast majority of the victims did not complain over fears of affecting their career prospects and being labelled a troublemaker.

Just under half of the women surveyed (44 per cent) felt some parts of the Army had a problem with sexual harassment.

One in 10 of those surveyed had a “particularly upsetting experience” – but only three per cent formally reported the incident.

Approximately a third (33 per cent) claimed that someone had made inappropriate efforts to talk to the about sexual matters and 12 per cent had received an unwelcome attempt to touch them. In comparison, just six per cent of men complained of similar treatment.

More than two-thirds said the incident had occurred at their base or within their training unit.

There are 15,780 women serving in the British Armed forces – roughly 10 per cent across the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

Army chief General Sir Nick Carter says the figures are “totally unacceptable” and told the BBC he was “disappointed” by the figures.

But the survey results, conducted by the Army, back up a 2013 Business in the Community report that found 23 per cent of female personnel had experienced sexual harassment in the work place since 2010.

Meanwhile, Freedom of Information requests showed there were 75 allegations of rape and 150 allegations of sexual assault made to military police between 2011 and 2013, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It comes amid indications last December that women could serve on the front line by 2016.

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