British citizens were handed a shock when reports emerged claiming that female recruits have been subjected to sexual abuse in the Royal Navy on Friday, October 28. According to whistleblowers who spoke to Daily Mail, women who are part of the Submarine Service of the fleet, have been facing similar mistreatment since the last decade.
Soon after the reports emerged, the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Ben Key, revealed that the alleged incidents have caused him deep disturbance and it does not have any place in the fleet. He also said that anyone found guilty of the “abhorrent” acts will be held accountable.
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“I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be,” he said.
“These allegations are abhorrent. Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated,” the admiral added.
As per the reports, male sailors of the Submarine Service have even compiled a list which has set out an order, which will be used to assault women in case of a catastrophic event. These reports also include first hand accounts of female crew members, several of whom have described how they were sexually assaulted.
One of the female crew members said that a higher ranked sailor assaulted her sexually when she was sleeping, before adding a senior officer even hit her in the kidney.
As per the female crew member, a male crewmate put naked photos of models and coins inside her cabin for performing sexual acts. Several other women in the Submarine Service also corroborated the incident, saying they faced similar experiences and added they were screamed at and were hit many times.
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The female crew members have alleged that these abuses have been taking place since 2011 when the Royal Navy waived the ban on women recruits.
The British Ministry of Defence website describes the Submarine Service as “unseen and unhindered” and says it has been created with a reputation of “professionalism and courage”. It also includes the United Kingdom’s safety net against nuclear threats, the Vanguard Class submarines.
A recent Freedom of Information request has highlighted that a meagre 1% of all members of the Submarine Service were women till 2019.