Kenyan woman’s murder near a British military base: Female harassment in the Military

Women as human beings need protection worldwide—women’s right to be protected against dangers and threats in society, especially in their workplace. The British government claims to be a supporter of human rights. What is happening in the UK’s Military these days? The Kenyan woman’s murder and Female harassment in the Military are waiting for actions from the so-called supporters of human rights. 

Young Kenyan woman’s murder

According to the Skynews, the body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru was found at the Lions Court Hotel. The hotel is in the town of Nanyuki, close to the Batuk (British Army Training Unit Kenya) camp. The Kenyan woman’s dead body was found two months after she disappeared in March 2012. According to the Africanews, Wanjiru was a 21-year-old mother of a 5-month old daughter when she disappeared. They found her dead body almost three months later from a hotel’s septic tank in central Kenya.  

Alleged murderer 

As stated in the Africanews, a British soldier allegedly killed Wanjiru in 2012. Her family are yet to receive justice almost ten years after her death. According to witness accounts, friends had seen Wanjiru with British soldiers at a party. In 2019, an inquest by a Kenyan judge concluded that one or two British soldiers killed her. There was an order by the judge for two further inquiries. However, the British Military took no action. According to a report by the Sunday Times, the killer confessed to a fellow soldier. When the soldier reported the confession, the British army took no action. 

UK’s cooperation in inquiries

Speaking to the Skynews, the police chief Joshua Lutukai said his detectives were actively investigating allegations that two British soldiers murdered Wanjiru. Joshua Lutukai dismissed suggestions his force were not investigating the crime rigorously enough. He stated, “We are supporting the Ministry of Defence’s discussions with Kenyan authorities as they investigate Wanjiru’s tragic death.” According to the Sunday Times, now the Royal Military Police has started a murder inquiry.

UK’s Lack of cooperation in inquiries 

As stated in the Sunday Times, army comrades reported the soldier accused of murdering Wanjiru to the army officials. They informed him to officers at the time, but the army officers hid the matter. A Kenyan woman says, ‘We’re terrified of British troops — they treat us like we’re animals. According to the Africanews, the UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace states that the Ministry of Defense will continue cooperation with the Kenyan investigation about Wanjiru’s death. However, social activists do not believe in Wallace’s words. They have called for the extradition of the alleged killer.

Female harassment in the Military

Women in the UK military do not have security against bullying men. They do not receive the required protection from the authorities. A study published in the BMJ Military Health journal found that the victims are mostly younger women. They hold the rank of officer or have a combat support role. 

Results of a Study on veterans

A study shows women in the British army are facing bullying, sexual harassment and assault. As Sky News reports, this study included 750 women veterans. The study states that 22.5% of these women said they had been sexually harassed. Besides, 5.1% recalled being sexually assaulted. Around 22.7% of the women said they had endured emotional bullying during their time in the armed forces. Moreover, 3.3% said they had been physically assaulted.

Rate of unacceptable behaviour towards women  

According to a parliamentary report, as stated in the Guardian, almost two-thirds of women in the armed forces have experienced unacceptable behaviour. This includes bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination during their career. The parliamentary report says that the UK military is “failing to protect” women. This shows that the UK has not been able to stop female harassment in the Military. 

The defence subcommittee announces its inquiry into the treatment of women in the armed forces as one of the most vital in its history. The defence subcommittee said 62% of the 4,106 veterans and current female personnel had either witnessed or received “unacceptable behaviour”.

Making complaints

As stated in the Guardian, examples of “truly shocking evidence” included accounts of gang rape, sex for promotion or advancement and contests to “bag the women” on camp or ships. Some women revealed how they were bullied for refusing sexual offers. Some women also stated they had witnessed friends being attacked by men but were too afraid to report it. One woman said that military accommodation was seen as “a place of danger” and more dangerous for servicewomen than overseas war zones.

The parliamentary report advocates removing the chain of command from dealing with complaints of a sexual nature and replacing it with a new authority. It also emphasises transferring rape and sexual assault cases from the military justice system to the civilian court system.

Royal Military Police to stop female harassment in the Military

According to HMICFRSthe Royal Military Police (RMP) consists of almost 2,200 soldiers and civilian staff. Other military units throughout the UK and abroad deploy them. The RMP is responsible for policing the British Army worldwide. The RMP is there to provide an independent investigatory and policing service. Its purpose is to make investigations effective and lawful. Moreover, it is responsible for maintaining discipline and providing protections and safeguards for individuals based on law. The question is: How successful is the RMP in stopping female harassment in the Military?

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