Sexual assault, intolerance and cover-up culture rife in our Defence Forces, and how it’s still going on today

Military top brass were a law unto themselves, while the victims were silenced

The complaint by two female soldiers was hugely embarrassing for military top brass. Photo: Stock image

Fionnán Sheahan

Wiping tears from her eyes, the female soldier sat upright and dignified in the witness box. Dressed in her full ceremonial uniform, she had told the impact on her life of being sexually assaulted by an army officer after a social function at a military barracks three years ago. The non-commissioned officer also described the effect of the subsequent trial and media publicity. She made no eye contact with her attacker during her five-minute appearance at the Military Justice Centre in McKee Barracks in Dublin. “That wasn’t easy,” the judge remarked, as she concluded.