In the last decade there were 202 complaints of harassment in the Armed Forces; 56% were not verified

In the last ten years there were 202 complaints of harassment in the Armed Forces and other departments of the Ministry of Defense, as revealed by that Secretary of State in its response to a request for access to public information made by The Observer. Of the total complaints made since 2012, there are 57 that were verified (28%), 114 that were not verified (56%)six that are in process and 23 for which there is no information.

The information collected by the Ministry of Defense detected four types of situations. 60% of the complaints were for workplace harassment, 31% for sexual harassment, 6% for gender violence (there are 12 cases in total: 10 intrafamily, one of a teacher-student relationship and a situation of a “moral” nature), 2% for cases of discrimination and 1% categorized as other.

Of the 64 complaints of sexual harassment were verified 37%.

In the vast majority of cases (78%) the functional relationship between those involved in the complaint was one of subordination (a subordinate who denounces a higher-ranking official), while 4% of the complainants were superiors and in 11% of the cases the complaint occurred between peers.

The Army is the largest force and also the one that accumulates the most complaints. Between January 2012 and July 2021 there were 88 complaints. In addition, 22 of the 23 complaints about which there is no information on their characteristics are from the ground force. In any case, the Army is the force that has the highest percentage of verification of complaints: 26%. In the Navy, 17% of the 40 complaints made between 2012 and January 2022 were verified, and in the Air Force only 4% of 23 in a period from 2012 to 2021.

In the National Directorate of Health of the Armed Forces, 22 complaints were accumulated in the last decade, while the General Directorate of the Secretariat of the Ministry of Defense registered 19 cases and in the National Directorate of Civil Aviation (Dinacia) there were nine complaints. In each of these dependencies the verification percentage is higher than in the forces: the average of the three is 52%.

The request for access to information The Observedr also asked about the sanction or sanctions that were imposed in each case. The MDN’s response did not link the sanctions to the specific cases. This way of presenting the information did not allow establishing how each confirmed case was resolved or the most recurrent sanctions. Instead, the ministry presented a list of disciplinary measures registered in each dependency that range from minor actions such as simple arrest or downward rigor (dismissal) and go to Justice. Between these extremes is the deprivation of degree, the suspension in charge or destination and the transfer to unavailable service, among others.

about records

The general commands of the Army, Navy and Air Force have records of harassment complaints only in recent years. In the land force it is between 2015 and July 2021, in the sea force between September 2020 and January 2022 and in the air force between 2018 and 2021. However, in order to complement the request, the MDN attended in each case to the records of the Specialized Commission on Gender of that secretariat, which began operating in 2012.

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