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Revealed: scale of abuse and sexual harassment of women in UK military

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Revealed: scale of abuse and sexual harassment of women in UK military

Women are suffering serious and long-lasting physical and mental health problems from “widespread” emotional bullying, sexual harassment and physical assault in the UK military, research reveals.

Those most likely to have experienced such treatment were younger personnel, those who have held the rank of officer or had a combat or combat support role, according to findings published in the BMJ Military Health journal.

Of 750 female veterans surveyed, 22.5% said they had been sexually harassed, while 5.1% said they had been sexually assaulted. Emotional bullying was inflicted on 22.7% of those women, while 3.3% said they had been physically assaulted.

Researchers found that sexual harassment in the forces was sparking physical somatisation, where mental distress causes women to suffer physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue.

Sexual assault is leading to alcohol problems, while emotional bullying is triggering anxiety, depression and loneliness, according to the research by the University of Oxford, King’s College London and the charity Combat Stress.

All types of bad treatment left the women at higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, and different types of adversity had specific impacts on women’s mental health and wellbeing.

About 16,500 women are serving in the UK military, where they make up approximately 11% of personnel. All roles were opened up to them, including deployment to frontline combat, in 2018.

The researchers believe the findings show there is an urgent need to provide more support to military women.

Sexual harassment was “significantly” linked to a situation where the women found themselves in pain or fatigued owing to the mental distress.

The research also found that sexual assault could result in women having “a greater risk of alcohol difficulties”, while emotional bullying left them with issues such as anxiety, depression, low social support and loneliness.

The study found that women who held a rank as an officer were at greater risk of sexual harassment as well as emotional bullying, but the scientists also state that “even women holding higher power positions may be at risk of victimisation from their own superiors”.

Since women are in the minority in the military “it cannot be ruled out that victimisation of women holding higher ranks may be perpetrated by their own peers as well as those in lower ranks”.

The researchers cautioned that no firm conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect behind their findings as it was an observational study and further research was needed. The study was based around self-reported events, which means it could underestimate or overestimate the true picture of what was experienced.

But they added: “Many women do not report adverse service experiences due to fear of the consequences of doing so and may continue to suffer from increased mental health distress during and after military service.

“It is essential to consider whether current reporting procedures may not provide sufficient confidentiality to encourage women to report adverse experiences and more appropriate disclosing procedures should be considered.”

They said that it might be worth considering whether organisational and leadership changes could be made to better protect military women. “Furthermore, it is essential to consider whether existing support is adequate to support the mental health needs of women who experienced military adversity,” they added.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “[We] do not tolerate abuse, bullying, harassment or discrimination.

“We have taken a range of steps to improve the experiences of women in our armed forces, as we continue to do for all serving personnel. This includes launching a 24/7 confidential and independent whole-force bullying, harassment and discrimination helpline with trained advisors to support personnel.

“All allegations are taken very seriously, with unlawful behaviour investigated by the relevant police service as necessary.”

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NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

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NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

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Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.

 

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