Female captain who was victim of sexual harassment now gets pariah treatment

Women who court found suffered abuse from superior officer faces jail over disloyalty charge

On March 8, 2012, International Women’s Day, the Central Military Court sentenced a male colonel to two years and 10 months in prison for “abuse of authority” and “degrading treatment” of a female captain who was under his command.

The ruling stated that the colonel acted with “utter disregard for both the female condition and the victim” and that his actions (groping, insinuations and so on) “clearly violated her sexual freedom.”

But the decision, which was later ratified by the Supreme Court, still didn’t bring an end to the captain’s nightmare. To the contrary, sources close to her claim she has been continually harassed by old friends and workmates of the convicted colonel.

For example, the captain was recently subjected to an additional, extraordinary-circumstance Staff Rating Report — a professional evaluation that determines whether military personnel will be promoted — even though she had already passed the normal assessment just a few months earlier. As a result, her professional rating dropped from outstanding to very poor.

Moreover, her superiors denied her summer vacation request. They also refused a petition she submitted asking for permission to postpone her professional training course (mandatory for officers applying for promotion). Unable to attend, she was marked absent and consequently failed.

Passive compliance

The captain submitted complaints about these decisions, but to no avail. She also spoke out against the officials who, according to the decision issued by the Central Military Court, “were quite aware” of the colonel’s inappropriate actions and took no action, The complaint was not investigated.

Most recently, a Madrid attorney has opened proceedings against the captain for disloyalty — a crime punishable by up to six years in prison. She is accused of having “manipulated” the dates on the permit application that she submitted while she was attending a training course. In reality, by then she had already requested to withdraw from the course and was on psychological leave.

The complaint against the captain was filed this past March 8 — International Women’s Day.

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