Marines rife with sexual harassment

The Dutch armed forces are riddled with unacceptable behaviour, ranging from simple bad language to physical violence and sexual abuse, according to a report commissioned by the defence ministry.

Defence minister Henk Kamp asked for the study following allegations of rape made by a female marine onboard a navy frigate. Bullying and sexual harassment is 1.5 times more likely in the marines than the army or airforce, the report said. In total 14% of female recruits and 3% of men said they had been subjected to sexual harassment.
‘The defence forces have a good name but this report teaches us that we can and must do better,’ said junior defence minister Cees van der Knaap. ‘And even though it contains some painful findings, this report helps us to see how we can improve.’ In a defence ministry press release, a senior military official said the armed forces was an organisation with special characteristics. ‘Naturally that can be no excuse fore accepting undesirable behaviour,’ he said. ‘I see it as my mission to make sure the defence department is a safe place for people to work.’

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