An inquiry has found that teenage military recruits in Australia were horrifically abused both physically and sexually by senior officers as part of a sick initiation practice.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse started an inquiry this week into the conduct of the Australian military and its treatment of cadets at its facilities.
They received no fewer than 111 reports of incidents of sexual abuse carried out against navy cadets as young as 15 in the 1960s right through to the 1980s.
50 cases are alleged to have taken place at HMAS Leeuwin from 1960 to 1980 and at the Balcombe Army Apprentice School between 1970 and 1980.
This is the second major inquiry into sexual abuse at Australian military academies to take place in the last five years.
Press TV reports:
The inquiry revealed that the victims were sexually abused during their first six months at the Leeuwin base, in Perth’s south, in 1967.
The survivors told the commission that their senior officers forced them to rape each other and perform horrific sex acts, causing some the recruits to commit suicide, according to the inquiry.
A former Navy cadet, who served in in 1967, told the commission that he was “repeatedly” raped and forced to perform horrific sex acts on his fellow recruits.
Graeme Frazer, one of 14 survivor witnesses giving evidence at the commission, said he suffers serious health problems, including crippling anxiety.
Frazer said there were some people in military “who still think it is OK to break people down by whatever means necessary.”
“What we are going to hear is a number of courageous survivors who are prepared to tell their stories about the horror they experienced,” said Adair Donaldson, a lawyer acting for 50 people faced sexual abused while they served the military.
“By telling their stories, they hope that they will make a difference for the future and that what they experienced will never be experienced by any other member of the ADF (Australia Defense Force),” Donaldson added.
Some 30 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the commission.