Based on an article in the Norwegian paper The Local:
30 young men forced to take off clothes in front of female labour representative
On a September evening, the platoon leader gave the order that everyone should bathe naked together.
That sounds pretty ordinary apart from the cold temperature of that time of the year. But after all, these are soldiers and they have to be tough. What is not of the ordinary is the fact that one of them was of the female sex, and she was in a certain authority position to the others being the labour representative of the platoon.
Now we do not hear of the shame and embarrassment those young men felt when they had to split naked and expose themselves to the female gaze with no safeguard against the possible traumatic effects from the unwanted breach of intimacy and of sexual selfdetermination.
The victimization to visual rape can have longstanding psychological consequences for the survivors, eventually resulting in loss of selfesteem, chronic anxiety, disturbed sleep patterns and depression. The perpetrator occupying a position of authority, however informal, adds significantly to the gravity of such a trauma. The power differential between perpetrator and victim can create an overwhelming sense of being subject to coercion and a rush of inescapable helplessness.
It is not reported wether any of the men had the courage to complain about this presumed felony of statutory rape, committed by the lieutenant who gave the order for the nude bath. It seems a rather complicated case to make as it would have to be construed as visual statutory rape by proxy.
The question wether there was consent of the female used as proxy or not is unclear insofar as she tried to make the platoon leader exempt her from partaking in the expectably offensive situation, but as stated she argued exclusively in her own favour, thereby giving no clue that she was not compliant with the role as perpetrator the order would make her assume.
Asplund’s request to put on sports shorts or bathe at an alternate spot nearby was turned down by the lieutenant in command of the platoon.
From the female’s words after the presumed visual sexual assault on a not specified number of male victims one could interpret her reaction as one of consciousness of guilt for her visual behaviour, but at the same time she did not use her discretion to prevent the offences happening, as she could easily have looked in another direction like at the surface of the ground or the water right in front of herself without having to fear any problems of insurgency arising.
“I cried and felt sick,(…)”
As she stated explicitly though, she choose to look at the exposed bodies of the men, yet she gave no details about the exact areas of the targets of her gaze.
“(…) I had problems looking at the male recruits right in front of my eyes,” said 23-year-old Alice Asplund to newspaper Avis Nordlan.
A further, and strong, indication that she was aware of her offence comes from learning,
Before quitting her military service in the air-defence force she reported the scene to police who could not find evidence of a punishable offence.
Which implies first, there was no confession of any perpetration from her side, second that the trial to turn the situation around and presenting herself as the victim would not even succeed in the first stages, hints at its bare unfoundedness, from which one may draw the conclusion that it was made in order to preclude becoming the object of allegations herself, which would then appear as retaliation in the eyes of the public.
Local officers of the 132nd Air Wing in Bodø reportedly said the case would be handled by the military’s own system of justice.
What really happened on that September evening will remain a secret of the military unless the results of the intended investigations should be made public, but even then and yet more so, we will never be told about the possible post-traumatic stress symptoms of any of the young men, since the publicised allegations against the platoon leader will have their presumedly well aimed effect.
The real victims will stay unknown and their voice silenced forever!
Apart from such deplorable injustice, a rather important beneficial consequence of the mysterious oggling affair can be welcomed, as not only one girl has deciphered a bit of reality from its childish illusionary mystification, but others have a chance to spare themselves to repeat the journey of exploring the obvious. The military is no beauty spa! In Alice-in-Militaryland’s words:
“I can not recommend that other girls go off to the military when it’s like that”