Female ex-SDF member sues Japan govt, abusers for sexual assault

by IANS |

Tokyo, Jan 30 (IANS) A women who was sexually assaulted and repeatedly harassed by male members while she served in Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) has filed a civil suit against the government and her five assailants, she told the media on Monday.

Rina Gonoi, 23, who quit the force in June 2022 and posted online about a wide range of abuses that took place at the GSDF's Camp Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture, filed the suit at the Yokohama District Court, reports Xinhua news agency.

Gonoi, who informed the Defence Ministry of her sexual assaults last June and called for an investigation, is seeking damages from the state and her five assailants, saying she was abused daily between fall 2020 and August 2021.

The Ministry has confirmed her allegations and admitted that along with being the victim of repeated sexual harassment, Gonoi was "groped and forced to the ground where the male members pressed their hips against her body during meals", according to reports.

It had issued an apology to Gonoi in September last year.

Some of the assailants have since been found guilty of sexually harassing other female members at Camp Koriyama.

Five of her abusers in their 20s and 30s, whose ranks ranged from sergeant and sergeant 1st class, as well as a master sergeant in his 40s who was found to have ordered the sexual attacks, were dishonorably discharged in December 2022.

The unit commander, who disregarded Gonoi's cries for an investigation, was suspended for six months.

Gonoi's civil action was prompted by receiving comments from her assailants making light of their abuses during a meeting with them, she said.

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