Saturday, 19 October 2019

Navy tackles sexual assault: 'banter' and buns


This is a straight lift from an article in Metro, 16 Oct 2019. 
Sex-charge sailor ‘poked hair of his female colleagues’ by Annabal Bagdi. https://www.metro.news/sex-charge-sailor-poked-hair-of-his-female-colleagues/1760038/
I have added sub-headings for readabilty, as well as links to related cases. 
A surprising amount of sexist behaviour still exists within this 30,000-strong organisation, in which women are 10 %. 
Since 1990 the UK Royal Navy has officially been hot on supporting respect and equal opportunities. The Merchant Navy's record is poorer. 
Women either tackle the matter informally, leave their jobs, or - in most cases - keep quiet. https://twitter.com › hashtag › whyididntreport




Court martial


"A SAILOR has been accused of sexual assault after allegedly poking the hair-dos of female colleagues.
   PO Patrick Bennett made lewd jibes while repeatedly touching the women’s bun hairstyles, a court martial heard.
   He is said to have shrugged off the remarks as ‘office banter’, telling one woman at the Royal Navy Air Station in Yeovilton, Somerset, that she would have a short-lived military career unless she played along.
   The woman told Bulford military court in Wiltshire that on one occasion the serviceman, based on HMS Diamond, grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand towards his groin.
   She recalled ‘snatching’ her hand away and managing to only touch his trouser material.

 
PO Patrick Bennett RN: Yeovilton

'Banter' and PMT


She told the court martial: ‘He said once “if you don’t take banter, you’re not going to get very far in the Navy”, and once asked if I was in a mood because I was on my period.’
   When interviewed, Bennett said he never intended for his comments to be taken as innuendos and apologised when asked to stop.

 
'Hairy bun hole'


A second woman said Bennett had poked his fingers into her hair bun up to 20 times while working at the air station and made comments about her weight.
    ‘When you have your hair in a bun, it creates a natural hole in the middle, and he stuck his finger in the centre of that bun,’ she said. ‘He would say “how’s your hairy bun hole?”’
   She denied fabricating the allegations to ‘get back at’ the serviceman and rejected claims she disliked him.
   Prosecutor Maj Lindsey Jones said: ‘This was not banter — this was uninvited, it was unwanted and it was sexual assault.’
   Bennett denies four counts of sexual assault. The trial continues."



Recent related cases in UK Navy


HMS Vanguard, Wikimedia Commons

2016. In August 2016 Lt. Basil Purdue was sacked in disgrace following a court martial. He had groped a junior's breast aboard submarine HMS Vanguard. (pictured)
The  woman said  “I am constantly battling to show women are equal in the RN but they are not."
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/01/royal-navy-officer-sacked-in-disgrace-after-groping-female-sailo/

2018. There were 65 courts martial of naval personnel. Six of these were for alleged sexual offences. Four of the six were found not guilty. Of the two found guilty, the lieutenant from Northwood convicted of rape and attempted sexual assault was give a seven-year sentence. https://tinyurl.com/GOV-courts-martial-2018


US and UK Navies


US Navy policy tries to prevent sexual assault.
In 2011 the policy was found to be inadequate.
https://www.stripes.com/dod-oversight-of-sexual
-harassment-policies-inadequate-gao-finds-1.158790.
In 2016 in the US Navy there were 1403 cases of sexual assault reported. Under-reporting is common. 
https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017/august/nobody-asked-me-sexual-assault-not-our-navy

288 reported cases occurred in the Royal Navy in the years 2017 and 2018 combined. 
Investigators found a further 60 cases that were not reported.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48993201