ZB

NZDF investigating Australian sailor's claim she was drugged, raped while on exchange with NZ Navy

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 May 2022, 2:31pm
The NZDF will look into the woman's claims. (Photo / File)
The NZDF will look into the woman's claims. (Photo / File)

NZDF investigating Australian sailor's claim she was drugged, raped while on exchange with NZ Navy

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 May 2022, 2:31pm

The New Zealand Defence Force is making inquiries into the claim an Australian sailor was drugged and raped while on exchange with the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The woman, who can only be identified as Jennifer, told the Daily Telegraph she was on an exchange with the RNZN in 2007, docked at Sembawang port in Singapore when a senior officer invited her out for drinks, spiked her beer and sexually assaulted her.

She reported the assault the following day, but was told if she took it further she would be sent back to Australia and forever be known as "the girl who got raped".

"He said this would be a very hard thing for my husband to live with because how would anyone know it was rape when I was s**t-faced," she said.

An NZDF spokesperson told the Herald that the force takes all allegations seriously.

"The allegations reported are deeply concerning and describe behaviour that is wholly unacceptable in the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Defence Force," they said.

"The NZDF is making further inquiries on this matter. We invite the person to come forward to the NZDF Military Police and make a formal report, if she wishes to."

Years after the assault, Jennifer reported it to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and while she was praised for her "courage" in coming forward she was offered no mental health assistance – and the Ombudsman told her as the offending occurred outside the jurisdiction, little could be done.

The NZDF spokesperson told the Herald if Jennifer wishes to formally report the assault, it will be investigated thoroughly.

"In most cases the allegation will be investigated by the Military Police. However, it may also be investigated by New Zealand Police if the offending occurred in New Zealand, or by a local jurisdiction depending on the country in which it may have occurred."