Rape growing issue in Defence Force
Sun, 14 Oct 2012 6:21p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
One-third of women soldiers in the United States are sexually assaulted, and a similar environment has been exposed in Australia. So is rape or assault a problem in the New Zealand Defence Force?
They're supposed to be on the same team, fighting for their country together, but for some female soldiers the enemy is standing by their side.
A powerful American documentary released this year, The Invisible War, captures the horror of military sexual assault.
Figures obtained under an OIA revealed between July 2007 and July 2012, there were 14 allegations of rape made by New Zealand Defence Force personnel. From that, there were two convictions and two discharges from service.
Three personnel are awaiting trial for rape. Four claims weren't substantiated and one was withdrawn. Each allegation was reported to police.
“No it's not a problem,” says Defence Force chief Lt Gen Rhys Jones. “In any case, one case is one case too many so that's why we do take it seriously.”
But a former top soldier who didn't want to be named told 3 News “this is a big can of worms that is swept under the carpet in any camp or base in New Zealand or overseas, where our females are serving”.
He continued, “If you were to visit any female barracks on an Army, Air Force or Naval base here in New Zealand, you would find a young female soldier with a story of rape or assault.''
“I disagree,” says Lt Gen Jones. “Certainly, New Zealand Defence Forces takes it seriously. We do follow up on every case where there is the allegation. And we do hand it over to police for investigation. And it's not a case of sweeping it under the carpet or trying to take a soft approach to it.”
Assault is a bigger problem. Between July 2007 and July this year, 324 allegations were made. Half were substantiated. The results of 132 are unknown or pending because they are before a civil court. One person is awaiting trial in a criminal court. Just 20 cases weren't substantiated.
“Over a five-year period that's about on average one person per military service per month, which is quite a low level,” says Lt Gen Jones. “So our level of violence against each other is much lower than the civil statistics per capita.”
The difference is these men are employed to protect our country and each other.
Those found guilty of serious assault are either court marshalled or discharged. Those on a lesser charge are fined or face reductions in rank.
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26/11/2012 9:09:16 a.m.
Through experience i do believe that there are many rapes in the NZ Army that go unheard. To prove rape without consent under the influence of alcohol is so very difficult. The time it takes to get to trial is 2years plus. Most of all becoming out casted by your own peers for coming forward and making a complaint. I now know that if you want to get ahead you must play by the rules, just like in a GANG. Put it behind you like it never happened, live with it or get out of the game. Only the strong speak out and survive and these are the soldiers i want protecting me, not the soldiers that pack together and lie to protect one of there own even when they know the truth. Just to think we send these men overseas to protect the women in children. Its a sad day when they firstly cannot do this at home in there own country. What are we actually training these soldiers to become. LIE if you have to, to protect another soldier as this will put doubt in the Jury's mind which will always end with a not guilty result. I know for a fact that the Army tries to wash as many complaints under the carpet as possible, just like any government department. Our Army is a joke. All i can say is that from what i have experienced, heard and seen. If you are a female in the army and dont open your legs, some mongrel will do it for you. NZ army needs to train our young men firstly how to respect women,keep them safe in our own country first, without women there would be no army. Alcohol needs to be controlled and the rules need to be enforced.
19/10/2012 4:02:48 p.m.
This is a bit of a tough one for me and it does open a can of worms on a personal level. I agree with SayWhat, except I do know of one case that was 'swept under the carpet' but not by the NZDF but by the Government (it wasn't in their best interests to bring the rape to light). I know of a number of incidences that happened when I was in the NZDF but there are so many angles and factors to consider that it would be very difficult, for anyone outside of the military, to get a realistic view of what is actually going on (not just men are trying to get what they want from sexual harassment, some women like to use the idea of sexual harassment etc for their own gain too and I witnessed that also and like Iron Side said, I knew of things happening to men that they didn't see as harassment). Unless some research into the topic is carried out, by an independent source, I think SayWhat pretty much summed it up. There are bad apples in every barrel and every institute is a barrel of people all in together, so it is inevitable that things will happen. I would also like to say that people in the military have a different mind-set to civilians. We are all in together, fighting for our country and we understand the way our institute works (until something goes horribly wrong, like the Government ignoring a rape) and mostly, things are pretty well understood by each person within that institute. It's not until you leave that you realise the politics of things but even former personnel (including myself) find it difficult to speak out, in any context, because people who haven't been there just don't understand. Also, NZ'ers aren't generally as brutal as the USA or Australian cultures (just look at the serial killers from OZ or the instances of male/male rape in US jails) so what I am talking about here, although not to be discounted, is different from what the US and Australian military governing bodies are dealing with because, as Jimmy says, we have a different culture
15/10/2012 8:33:33 a.m.
iron side wrote:
It may be that now women are more prevalent in the NZ defense forces there will be more reports of sexual assaults. Women are more likely to report such abuses than men are. There have been sex crimes in the armed forces everywhere for millennium. Until now it has mainly been male on male.
14/10/2012 10:29:05 p.m.
I agree with Jimmy, this is a beat up. Rape is not tolerated by anyone in the services, it kills the trust that is needed to survive in combat. Yes it may happen but it is stomped on. However rape and child abuse does seem to be tolerated outside of the military, especially when these low life are given houses and hugs if they promise to be good. The media could help with making it even more unexceptable by calling these low lifes 'males' instead of men. Real Men do not harm woman and children, so don't insult us by calling these low life 'men', calling them 'males' is acceptable, just.
14/10/2012 8:56:32 p.m.
Say what? wrote:
Rape in the NZDF isn't a "growing issue". Its has always been an issue and always will be. Like it is in EVERY other walk of life within NZ. Police "Louise Nicholas" etc, ambulance service, fire, you name it EVERY institution has its degenerate rapist minority and the NZDF is no different. Why? because like all others it draws its personnel from all walks of life, and in every walk of life can be found rapists. And like these other institutions rape in the NZDF is not acceptable.
What is the difference between these institutions and the NZDF? Only the NZDF is answerable to two separate sets of laws, both civil and military, both at the same time. Nothing is swept under the carpet. That's just tinfoil hat conspiracy crap. Evidenced by the fact that the "former top soldier" is too cowardly to stand behind his words.
Instead of slandering the men of the NZDF in their entirety, why don't you check some facts and work out the prevalence of sexual assault within the NZDF on a by capita basis and compare it to the rest of NZ.
But, I suspect that would be less likely to fit your sensationalist agenda TV3.
14/10/2012 7:26:45 p.m.
This story was the biggest beat up I've seen in a long time. The NZ Army has a totally different culture to America and Australia, and Gen Jones was very upfront and clear that the level of this issue in the NZ Army is nothing to get worked up over. Assaults are also very less frequent than in the civilian world, but are treated far more severely when they do happen.
Also Amanda, you'd do better to show NZ soldiers in your footage when talking about the NZ Army, those were Australians you kept showing.
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