Originally posted on December 4th, 2015
At least three rapes and 22 sexual assaults have been carried out against men in the UK military forces over the last two years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed under a Freedom of Information request.
Last February, a 20-year-old man was subject to “assault by penetration” by a group of seven men, The Times reported.
In May, another soldier, 28, was attacked by his seven fellow servicemen, while three other young men in the army – one of them 18 years old – were the victims of penetrative sexual assaults over the last year.
All in all, there have been 25 assaults between October 2012 and October 2014, the report revealed.
The numbers were disclosed by the MoD under Freedom of Information requests. They refer only to information gathered by military police, meaning that the real numbers could be much higher.
A former army officer offers his views:
Ex-army officer Major Ross McLeod provided details of how the incidents take place: broom handles and other objects are used for penetration to bully and scare the young servicemen.
“Sexual assault and male rape are unfortunately pretty routine army bullying tactics,” he said. “The military culture which has been perpetuated and protected since time immemorial… is one in which these attacks are neither surprising or appalling, but rather entirely predictable.”
This abuse is not limited to adults. It also affects the cadets, the latter of which cost the Ministry of Defense millions:
The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than £2m in out-of-court settlements over the past three years as a result of claims of sexual abuse against young people within the ranks of the cadet forces.
The allegations included sex abuse rituals performed by teenage boys on younger cadets in their charge, as well as the case of a cadet who was raped and gave birth to her abuser’s child.
Eight payouts, totalling £544,213, were made this year, according to records released in response to a freedom of information request from the Guardian seeking figures for payments for alleged sexual abuse within the Army Cadets, Combined Cadet Force, and Air Cadet Organisation.
As is the case with the United States, there may be an inclination to blame this on masculinity and manhood, but it appears to have little to do with that. Much like the situation in the US military, it appears bureaucracy is the source of the problem in the United Kingdom military.
Too many people are invested in protecting the image of the organization rather than the people who participate in it. Too many people hold on to “traditions” that should be abandoned because they are cruel and criminal. Too many people turn away from these acts assuming that the victims — overwhelmingly male — can handle whatever happens to them.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense claimed that the organization has support services set up to aid the victims. However, this is the United Kingdom. The UK has a terrible history of addressing sexual violence against men and boys. To this point, the UK government just created a fund for male victims of rape. The existing rape support services fund excluded (and continues to exclude) any services for male victims.
So one wonders just what services the ministry plans to provide when one can count the number of organizations that know anything about assisting male victims on one hand.