Defence Forces have known about abuse of women personnel for 20 years

Women of Honour documentary confirms pattern of discrimination and violence continues

  Members of the Army and Defence Forces march through O’Connell Street as  part of the 1916  commemorations: Until Mary Robinson was elected president, women soldiers were forbidden to participate in ceremonial duties. Photograph: Alan Betson

Members of the Army and Defence Forces march through O’Connell Street as part of the 1916 commemorations: Until Mary Robinson was elected president, women soldiers were forbidden to participate in ceremonial duties. Photograph: Alan Betson

On Saturday last, RTÉ Radio broadcast a documentary on the experiences of women in Ireland’s Defence Forces. Retired women sailors, soldiers and aircrew spoke of grave experiences of systemic discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

Their disclosures of sexual violence in the Irish Defence Forces came 21 years after the publication of my own research into systematic gender-based discrimination, gender-based violence, sexual assault and rape within our armed forces.

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