One in ten women in Belgian army are victims of sexual assault

One in ten women in Belgian army are victims of sexual assault
Belgian female soldier pictured during the ceremony for the new Army structure at the "Cinquentenaire" in Brussels, Monday 14 January 2002. Credit: Belga / Olivier Hoslet

One in ten women in the army are victims of rape, while two out of three women face sexual harassment or intimidation, according to the master thesis of adjutant major Kaatje Buyse. Her findings were reported by VRT NWS and feature testimonies from female military personnel.

Researcher Busye found that 67% of female military personnel experience sexual misconduct. As many as 43% of cases involve physical acts including unwanted touching, with 9% of these incidents consisting of rape.

"I don't normally drink. It was a pleasant evening," said one female military personnel under a pseudonym on VRT NWS.  "They were drinking and suddenly everything went black."

The anonymous woman recounts how she was once too drunk to get behind the wheel, so her boss offered her a lift. However, he didn't drive her back to her home but to his own where he sexually assaulted her.

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The account was published together with figures from Kaatje Buyse's thesis from 2020. Buyse relied on data based on a staff survey from Belgium's Ministry of Defence as well as a separate master thesis from 2016.

Buyse was in 2020 studying health and she is now an adjutant major working as a command adviser.

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