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Sexual Assault within the Australian Defense Force Academy

Aspects of health issues covered in the program

The predominance of sexual assault and harassment in the military has risen to worrying levels. Four Corners ran a program entitled "Chambers of Horrors' that covered cases of sexual harassment of women cadets within the Australian Defense Forces. The women were sexually assaulted at the Australian Force Academy (ADFA) in the 1990s. The program presented various allegations of sexual abuse and assaults in the ADFA. The program indicates that the perpetrators of these heinous acts ranged from middle to senior ranked Army officers in the ADFA. It highlighted the nature of differences that existed between the justice and the legal systems. The program highlighted various sexual harassment issues such as sexual abuse and rape, pornography, and homosexuality. A number of issues were outlined as the root causes of the sexual assault within the ADFA. The issues include the complicated nature of rape cases within the legal system that hampers the administration of justice. The limitation of the powers of the ADF to resolve the rape and sexual assault cases is also highlighted as an impediment to the administration of justice: more so, to the victims of social abuses in the military.

The program indicates that the women cadets reported the incidents to the police. However, the cases were dropped and not followed up. A number of the complaints filed by the women cadets were often secluded and hidden in filing cabinets that were known as "the chamber of horrors." The program indicated that a number of the sexual offenders were still working within the military departments or serving as military officers in the army. "Susan," not her actual name, was one of the former cadets who recounted how one of her male superiors (a third year) assaulted her in her bedroom in the 1990s. She indicates that the assaulter was stronger than her. Thus, she could not resist him and simply froze and wished she was dead. Susan's case was not an isolated one. She claims she filed her complaint, but it was placed in the "chamber of horrors." She recounts how the "Chamber of Horrors" was full of sexual assault claims filed by the ADFA cadets, but nothing was done to resolve them. Another cadet, "Jane" recounted how she was sexually assaulted when she was a cadet in the 1990s. She indicates how she felt traumatized to witness her attacker walk Scott-free and even got promotions in the military.

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