UK military (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )
Women have been suffering severe issues from “widespread” sexual harassment, emotional bullying and physical assault in the UK military. The revelation was made by a study. Around 750 female veterans were surveyed. Of the people featured in the survey, 22.5% said they had been sexually harassed, while 5.1% said they were sexually assaulted
Women have been suffering severe physical and mental health issues from “widespread” emotional bullying, sexual harassment and physical assault in the UK military, a research revealed.
According to the findings published in BMJ Military Health journal, the people, who are likely to have experienced such treatment, were younger personnel, who have held the rank of officer or had a combat or support role.
Around 750 female veterans were surveyed. Of the people featured in the survey, 22.5% said they had been sexually harassed, while 5.1% said they were sexually assaulted.
As per the findings, 22.7% of the women were subjected to emotional bullying and 3.3% said they had been physically assaulted.
In the forces, sexual harassment was sparking physical somatisation, where mental distress has been causing women to suffer physical symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, found researchers.
The research done by the University of Oxford, King’s College London and the charity Combat Stress said the sexual assault has been leading to alcohol problems, while emotional bullying is resulting in anxiety, depression and loneliness.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, said, “(We) do not tolerate abuse, bullying, harassment or discrimination. We have taken a range of steps to improve the experiences of women in our armed forces, as we continue to do for all serving personnel. This includes launching a 24/7 confidential and independent whole-force bullying, harassment and discrimination helpline with trained advisors to support personnel.
“All allegations are taken very seriously, with unlawful behaviour investigated by the relevant police service as necessary.”
(With inputs from agencies)