UK navy launches probe into sexual harassment on submarines


British Royal Navy chief has announced an investigation after a news report in Daily Mail made allegations of widespread sexual harassment of female staff on submarines.

The Daily Mail on Saturday published a story based on an interview with Sophie Brook, a former naval lieutenant, who described a “constant campaign of sexual bullying” including male crew members putting the names of female colleagues on a “rape list”.

The article quotes two unnamed whistle-blowers who backed Brooks’ account.

First Sea Lord Ben Key, the professional head of the navy, said in a statement to the newspaper that he had called for an investigation to be carried out by his senior team and was “deeply disturbed” by the “abhorrent” allegations.

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated,” Key said, and anyone found culpable would “be held accountable” regardless of rank.

Brooks, now 30, was due to become a submarine commander. But she became suicidal and self-harmed due to the on board culture and was dismissed by the navy.

The Royal Navy’s submarine service only began admitting women in 2011.

She was routinely addressed using a sexual obscenity by her male superiors. Brooks said they put their p*****s in her pocket.

She learnt she was number six on a list of which female crew members would be raped first in the event of a catastrophe. 

A married colleague exposed himself to her and another fellow crew member climbed into her bed while she was sleeping and started kissing her.

One woman who formally complained about naked pictures of women on display in a working area was “frozen out” and unable to advance, Brook said.

Brooks began self harming at 21, just two years after joining the navy. She was later dismissed from the service.

(With inputs from agencies)

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