The German armed forces have seen a sharp increase in the number of sexual assault claims made by members. Up to September 30 this year, there were 187 allegations of sexual assault made by members of the Bundeswehr, in comparison with 128 allegations over the whole of last year.
According to the Bundeswehr, the figure includes several historical cases which have been re-opened after the victims complained they were dissatisfied with the handling of the case.
"In society, sexual assaults are punished and equally, they are punished in the Bundeswehr. We want a climate of openness in the troops, in which everyone has the confidence to report injustice and violence. It is a positive sign, that supervisors and teams are more likely to report incidents," she said.
On Wednesday, it was reported that two female soldiers had been raped at the Toderdorf barracks in Schleswig-Holstein, north Germany. The rapes of the women, aged 18 and 22, were allegedly committed by a 29-year-old man and filmed by another soldier; the incident occurred after a party at the barracks. The victims and the perpetrator belong to Air Defense Missile Group 21, which operates weapon systems such as Patriot, Spiegel reported.
Earlier this year, the German Bundeswehr was hit by a series of scandals, including allegations of humiliation, violent assault and sexual assault of new recruits. It was also revealed that a soldier, Franco A., had been allowed to serve in the Bundeswehr despite the fact that superiors knew he held far-right views. In May, Franco A. was arrested on suspicion of terrorism.
The study posits that the German public most favorably views Bundeswehr operations within Germany: 80 percent see them positively, 5 percent negatively and 13 percent aren’t sure. With regard to foreign operations, 65 percent have a positive view, 9 percent negative and 22 percent are unsure.