SOL­DIER TRAU­MA­TISED BY SEX PEST

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Sunday World - - Front Page - BOI­TUMELO TLHOAELE

A SEX­UAL ha­rass­ment claim against a se­nior of­fi­cial has left an SANDF em­ployee trau­ma­tised and fear­ing for her life.

The em­ployee, whose iden­tity is known to Sun­day World, al­leges that:

A se­nior of­fi­cer sex­u­ally ha­rassed her;

She was dis­cour­aged by other se­nior of­fi­cers from open­ing a case of sex­ual ha­rass­ment;

She’s suf­fer­ing from post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der as a re­sult; and

An­other col­league and se­nior rank­ing of­fi­cer as­saulted her.

The cor­po­ral, who was de­ployed from Mahikeng mil­i­tary base to the Musina head­quar­ters ear­lier this year, said her trou­bles started when she didn’t want to date and sleep with one of the se­nior of­fi­cers. Since ar­riv­ing at the base he’s been pur­su­ing me, and I’ve been say­ing no,” she said.

She claims the war­rant of­fi­cer started mak­ing moves on her on her first month of ar­rival. He al­legedly promised to buy her nice food” and air­time, and to give her money. He told me he’d take care of me and that when­ever I feel lonely I should let him know, but I told him… I’m see­ing some­one.”

The sol­dier said the of­fi­cer would come into her room even though men are not al­lowed in the women’s rooms”. He would in­sist, how­ever, telling her that he’s her se­nior and he could do as he pleased.

The last straw was when the of­fi­cer touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately when she was tak­ing a bath, she said. I was shocked to see him stand­ing by the door… I told him I was go­ing to scream. He said no one would hear me be­cause it’s just the two of us.”

He moved to­wards her and touched her chest. I pushed him away and told him I’ll re­port him, but he said no one would be­lieve me.”

Af­ter that in­ci­dent, she went to the hu­man re­sources depart­ment to lodge a griev­ance against him.

A meet­ing was held be­tween my­self and other of­fi­cials and they asked me what sex­ual ha­rass­ment is. I was so over­whelmed I couldn’t an­swer.

She said that at the meet­ing she was con­vinced not to lay charges against the war­rant of­fi­cer and told that she shouldn’t speak to any­one about the mat­ter.

Last week­end, the woman claims, a se­nior fe­male of­fi­cer at­tacked her in the cor­ri­dor as part of the on­go­ing tor­ment”.

She has laid a charge of as­sault against the of­fi­cer at It­soseng po­lice sta­tion. Sta­tion com­man­der Colonel Jo­hannes Mashaba con­firmed the case, but said they had re­ferred it to Musina, be­cause that is where the in­ci­dent is al­leged to have taken place.

Be­cause of the stress­ful sit­u­a­tion, the cor­po­ral said, she fell ill. Sun­day World has seen a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion and di­ag­no­sis of her con­di­tion.

Musina head­quar­ters com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Cap­tain Hen­drik Gumede said the war­rant of­fi­cer could not speak to Sun­day World be­cause our mem­bers are not al­lowed to give in­for­ma­tion di­rectly to the me­dia” with­out his pres­ence. Gumede is on leave.

Pikkie Gre­eff, spokesman for the South African National De­fence Union, said he was not sur­prised to hear of the in­ci­dent. I can be­lieve each and ev­ery point here.”

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