Bullying of Female Officer RAN

Front page story in Sydney Morning Herald to day follows.

Could or does this happen in todays RN to either Female Officers or Lower Deck.

If the story has any truth it is shameful


AUSTRALIA'S first female navy officer has alleged she suffered years of physical and mental abuse in the armed forces, saying she was "beaten up" daily.

Former Lieutenant-Com-mander Robyn Fahy also claims the navy intended to have her involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and that she subsequently lost her job.

Ms Fahy last night lashed out at the service she joined in 1986, when she was stationed at the Defence Force in Canberra. "On a daily basis I was beaten up … I can't remember a day where I wasn't punched or kicked or spat on," she told ABC TV.

Despite this, Ms Fahy topped her year. "At the graduation parade I got punched, and in fact when I walked toward the governor-general to receive my award I got spat on so by the time I reached him I had saliva on my uniform," she said.

She said her time in the navy had been a hard for her family.

"They had seen the bruises over my body in the last two years and I think they knew that I would probably get beaten up."

In 2000 Ms Fahy was promoted to executive officer of HMAS Stirling in Perth - but there the abuse worsened, she said.

The base's commanding officer took an instant dislike to her. "[It was] mostly verbal abuse and threats," she said.

Kirshy Read, Ms Fahy's assistant officer at the time, backed her allegations: "It was very obvious they didn't get along and it was not uncommon to see the [commanding officer] putting her down or having a go at her."

Ms Fahy also claims she was threatened by her commander in July 2000, after she backed up harassment claims made by former Lieutenant Kellie Wiggins.

Three months later, following a severe headache, Ms Fahy visited the base's acting doctor. The doctor wrote a letter to a consulting psychiatrist that allegedly implied she had attempted suicide, was borderline depressed and had a personality disorder. "I couldn't even begin to speculate as to why someone would think it appropriate to write such malicious falsehoods about another officer," Ms Fahy said.

The psychiatrist diagnosed her as having bipolar disorder and suggested she be admitted to hospital and sedated. "I found this to be the most frightening concept to deal with and it has taken me quite a lot of time to get over it. They intended to have me committed to a psychiatric facility against my will."

Two independent doctors subsequently found there was nothing wrong with the naval officer, but Ms Fahy lost her job regardless. "I felt I had to speak up and try and do something otherwise this would keep happening again and again," she said. "I don't believe that the Australian Defence Force is above the law."

An inquiry by the West Australian medical board into the conduct of the doctor found him guilty of medical misbehaviour.

Earlier this year, the chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston, pledged to wipe bullying out. Responding to Ms Fahy's claims, the navy sent the ABC said: "The navy is committed to a mutually acceptable resolution of her case."



Lantern Swinger
As long as the opinion thrives that "it did me no harm" as some of the posts in other threads have it, there will always be the potential for bullying in today's forces. Proof is that sicko PTI who managed to get a job at Deepcut, much to the Army's eternal shame.

I don't believe that anything could occur in the RN to the level described in your newspaper, because there are too many alive to the possibility. You'd hope that the doctor involved will be struck off at the very least.


"Joined up in '86"
"Beaten up on a daily basis"
"Promoted in 2000"
"Threatened in 2000"

"I felt I had to speak up"

Well why the feck did she wait till now to speak up?

What was wrong with the day she was beaten for the first time,,, or the next day,,,, or the next day,,,,,?

86 to 2000 to 2006 there are a load of days when she could have fullfilled her desire to "speak up"

Why are we just hearing from her now!

Maybe she should have put in for a draft to deepcut and we'd have been rid of her ages ago!
Any of you read ex Lt Cdr A Mars book ' Court Martial'

Sounds like a leaf out of his book cos they committed him to a Mental Hospital when he started to kick at high places .

Possible same methods still exist!!------ give the guy a mental ticket and discharge from the service it was all in his/her mind.


Lantern Swinger
I have to say, I concur with G_W, it's just a bit too unbelievable! Be honest, can anyone conceive of a female officer being punched, kicked and spat on, on a daily basis? I know our aussie cousins can be a bit rough but come on! (JOKE)
I would be more inclined to believe that she had suffered discrimination and general unfair treatment, shamefully, that has happened in the RN, no point denying it, but as I said, the stories she tells seem just a little too much.


War Hero
I know the ball and chain swingers can be a bit rough, but this? Or she like the rest of them, a well balanced lot with a chip on both shoulders. Or some sort of axe to grind. For me I don’t know what to believe in this story.


War Hero
This sort of behaviour as an isolated incident is possible but for such a prolonged experience of physical and mental cruelty it seems over the top. Hard to believe any human being would act this way and this is made worse with a female involved. Spitting, if true how bloody revolting.She maybe suffering some form of mental illness however but if all this is true why let it continue for so long. I certainly didn't see anything near this during my contact with the RAN and found to the contrary they were a far more relaxed service as opposed to the then very class concious routine in the RN.
If this is accurate however #1 punishment should apply. The worry is it may be another case of someone trying to cash in on the current trend to make a quid out of sexism, racism or all the other bleedin' isms fashionable at the moment. Maybe another good reason for seperate services too if proved to be valid,




Hmm, several things to say on this subject....

Firstly I hope it is not true, but I would not be completely surprised if it was true and this is for several reasons.

I have worked with Australians, in a previous civvie job, and I've seen how they can treat people. They are quite relaxed about many things, but whilst not wishing to sound like a xenophobe they can be pretty brutal if they don't like someone and decide they want rid of them, whether this view is justified or not. Without wishing to go into too much detail I have personal experience of this several years ago from an Australian boss.

My second point is that I believe one of the reasons for them treating people like this is apparently the employment laws in Australia are not as strong as they are over here. As a result, unfortunately some Australians seem to be under the impression they can treat their employees as they want. That might work in Australia but it doesn't work in the UK.

In our Armed Forces (as in the UK civvie company I worked for at the time) we have policy and proceedure in place for dealing with harrasment and bullying. I don't know if this is the case in the Australian armed forces, but if there is no effective mechanism in place for dealing with bullying then what was she supposed to do about it?


I am sorry but I have to take the view that all this does not quite fit, I find it hard to believe that someone who has risen as far as being the executive officer of a shore base, would have so little confidence and lack of self esteem (I dont mean this harshly). If it is true it is horrific that the chain of command can be abused so easily, if this can happen to an officer God help your avaerage sailor.


War Hero
I've been looking at this one over the last few days and I have to say that I'm leaning towards the sceptics camp. I hate the thoughts of anyone being bullied, particularly if it involves ABH. But the thoughts that a female officer in a modern naval service could be systematically bullied & beaten, on a daily basis, over such a long period beggars belief.

If I am wrong and this is true then my apologies to the lady involved. I'm no fool - I know this type of thing goes on and often over a prolonged period, but to this extent? It just doesn't seem possible in this day and age.