Sexual abuse scandal in Australian armed forces

This video from the USA says about itself:

June 2009

Statistics show that nearly one in three female soldiers are sexually assaulted whilst serving their country. For some the consequences are tragic. One victim’s family is determined to find the truth.

Just 5 weeks into LaVena Lynn Johnsons Iraq tour, the 19-year-old was found dead in a contractor’s tent. It was concluded to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But LaVena’s family believes she was raped and murdered by another soldier, and the army is trying to cover it up. LaVena’s father claims “somebody murdered my daughter. I couldn’t give up on my baby. So I’m going to fight this until I get justice for her.”

Produced By SBS, distributed by Journeyman Pictures

By Mike Head in Australia:

Australian defence scandal reveals military-government rift

18 April 2011

A scandal over the sexual degradation of a young female officer cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) has revealed deep tensions between the military and the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

On April 5, Channel Ten News broadcast an interview with an 18-year-old air force cadet, identified only as “Kate”, who, while having consensual sex with a fellow cadet, was secretly recorded, with footage streamed live over the internet to male cadets watching in another room. Photos were later circulated around the ADFA campus on mobile phones.

“Kate” went public after senior military officers allegedly stifled an official complaint. ADFA commandant Commodore Bruce Kafer even proceeded with a minor, unrelated disciplinary charge against the young woman, resulting in her conviction and punishment.

Following the news broadcast, a flood of reports emerged involving the similar suppression of complaints about beatings, sexual assault, bullying and victimisation, some of which had led to suicides.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith intervened, alarmed over the negative impact on the military’s public image and on already flagging recruitment rates. He ordered six separate inquiries into the incident, the treatment of women inside the armed forces and other allegations of abusive conduct. Smith also publicly criticised Kafer and privately demanded that Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston order the commandant’s removal from his post.

According to “senior defence sources” cited by the Australian, Houston met with other military commanders on April 8, and “with the full support of the other defence chiefs” decided to reject Smith’s demand. Meeting Smith the following day, Houston reportedly said he would resign rather than sack Kafer, creating what the military sources described as a “Mexican stand-off.”

In the end, a compromise was fashioned. Smith and Houston staged a joint media conference to announce that Kafer had been sent on leave, ostensibly because the commodore had received abusive phone calls. Asked to respond to reports that Houston had threatened to resign, Smith’s office issued an unconvincing denial, saying “this claim is entirely baseless, without foundation, and not worthy of the speculation.”

The media, government and the military have, unsurprisingly, depicted the ADFA scandal as an isolated instance of “abhorrent” behaviour by young male cadets. In fact, the incident reflects the reactionary climate that is generated inside the military. Numerous official inquiries have been conducted into inappropriate behaviour within the ranks over the past few decades, yet criminal and degrading practices have continued uninterrupted.

Sexist, racist and other backward conduct is part of a “culture” aimed at conditioning military personnel for the de-humanising killing and repression they are inevitably required to carry out in neo-colonial wars and occupations, such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and Solomon Islands. Just last month, Channel 7 News broadcast Internet video footage of Australian troops in Afghanistan making racist slurs against Afghans (see: “Australian soldiers in Afghanistan post racist anti-Afghan comments”).

Australia: When climate change deniers took to the streets in March against the federal government’s proposed carbon price, some of this country’s most notorious shock jocks were leading the way: here.

USA: My attacker took away my military career and stole my love for the military. For this, I blame the military commanders who fail to adequately investigate, prosecute or even track sexual predators in the armed services: here.

Government Accountability Office Questions Pentagon’s Efforts to Prevent Sex Harassment: here.

GREEN BERET’S WIDOW SPEAKS Just hours after Michelle Melgar spoke to her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, for the last time, his teammates broke into his room to haze him. By morning, he was dead. Michelle declined interviews since her husband was killed and his teammates were charged with murder — until now. [Daily Beast]

7 thoughts on “Sexual abuse scandal in Australian armed forces

  1. Pingback: United States women soldiers raped scandal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  3. Abuse apology for troops

    Monday 26 November 2012

    Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith today publicly apologised to military personnel past and present who were sexually abused or otherwise mistreated during their service.

    Mr Smith made the apology in parliament on behalf of the government and is the latest step in a two-year effort to reform the Australian military and make it more accepting of women.

    “Young men and women have suffered treatment which no member of our defence force or our community generally should experience,” Mr Smith said.

    He noted claims that officers had abused their positions of trust through their own behaviour or by turning a blind eye to the actions of others.

    Retired judge Len Roberts-Smith had been appointed to examine allegations from over 1,000 people.


  4. Pingback: Sexual assault case against United States Army general | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Australian armed forces bishop charged with child abuse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Militarist propaganda in Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Dutch teenage soldier abused sexually, top brass covered up | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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