Royal Navy sailor reveals how Senior Service's response to her sexual assault was 'career-ending'

A FEMALE sailor who was raped during her time in the Royal Navy has told MPs how the reaction of the Senior Service to the crime against her had been ‘career-ending’.

By Tom Cotterill
Saturday, 20th November 2021, 3:04 pm

The unnamed officer was speaking out as part of a shocking study carried out by the Commons defence select committee shining a light on the abuse and discrimination women have felt in the navy.

The heartbroken sailor said she had dreamt of joining the navy since the age of 14, finally signing up to serve when she was 18.

But speaking about how she was the victim of an ‘extremely serious sexual assault’, the female officer wrote: ‘The response of the service to that incident was career-ending for me.

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Aerial view of Portsmouth Naval Base in 2011. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111408-4)

‘It has taken me a very long time to begin to come to terms with what happened and I regret that I am not in a position to provide further details at this present time; suffice to say it was both career-ending and life-changing.’

Earlier in her career, the officer reported how she had been a victim of bullying and prejudice from senior officers.

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She claimed that her young male colleagues were ‘prioritised’ and given more opportunities to complete key training tasks and that she was overlooked.

‘My confidence was slowly being eroded and I was struggling to concentrate and becoming forgetful,’ she wrote.

On another occasion, the female officer claimed she was hauled in front of senior commanders for allegedly having sex with a junior rate – a breach of naval rules – without ‘any evidence’ being provided to back up the claim.

‘I was called alone into a senior officer’s cabin and accused of sleeping with a junior rate,’ she said. ‘I was not asked about my activities that evening and no checks had been made as to my movements.

‘I did not know who the individual was that I was apparently supposed to have slept with. I was informed that a piece of my underwear had been found which is only possible if it had been taken from the communal laundry although I was unaware of anything missing.

‘I was shocked that such an accusation could be made against me with no proof and with a swift assumption as to its truth.

‘I do not believe such an accusation would have been levelled at a male colleague in a similar situation. It was simply not true.’

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