Sexual violence rife in military

DEFENCE Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has revealed shocking statistics of sexual violence in her department, telling parliament that it dealt with 69 complaints of rape and sexual harassment in the past three years alone.

And the statistics show that not a single defence department employee accused of rape has been convicted of the crime.

Mapisa-Nqakula made the startling revelation yesterday when she was responding to written questions from DA MP David Maynier.

Maynier wanted to know about the number of cases of sexual assault, rape and child pornography that had been reported to the department between 2009 and 2013.

In her response, Mapisa-Nqakula stated that 15 cases of rape were reported between 2009 and last year and a further 54 cases of sexual assault were reported in the same period.

Mapisa-Nqakula did not specify whether the alleged offences were committed by soldiers deployed at military bases across the country or in foreign missions.

However, despite the 15 rape cases being referred to court not a single convictions had been secured. Regarding the 54 cases of sexual assault, she said only 14 resulted in convictions.

Despite this, Mapisa-Nqakula has insisted that her department has “appropriate policies” in place to prevent a recurrence of the sexual crimes.

“The Department of Defence remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual offences and harassment from occurring within the department and the military by adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any behaviour unbecoming of a member or official,” Mapisa-Nqakula said. – Aphiwe Deklerk


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