Ex-navy member: You’re seen as a traitor for making a sex assault complaint

A former member of the navy, who claims she was sexually assaulted by a crewmate on board a naval vessel, said people who make such complaints are made to feel like traitors.

The woman told a district court sitting in Cork yesterday that she had been sexually assaulted on board the vessel some years earlier, but that senior officers effectively talked her out of making a formal complaint.

She said, while the ship was on patrol at sea, the accused approached her in the mess area twice, once to ask her for a blowjob, and on another occasion to go to a cabin for “a quick one”.

She told Judge Brian J Sheridan she did not have the strength then to follow through with a formal complaint, but does now.

“Making a complaint of this nature in a military organisation is frowned upon. Your crew look at you differently. They isolate you — it’s not an easy place to be. It can be very daunting.

“You are also seen as a traitor for ‘rocking the boat’ and going against the lads — it’s all about the boys.”

A man appeared yesterday facing a single charge of sexually assaulting the woman on board a naval vessel berthed at the Irish Naval base at Haulbowline, Co Cork, on a date in Jun 2012, contrary to Sec 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 as amended by Sec 37 of the Sex Offenders Act.

He denied the charge.

He described what happened as “horseplay” and banter between crewmates and there was nothing malicious in his behaviour.


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