Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse detailed shocking claims, at a public hearing on Tuesday, gathered from former military cadets who say they were raped as part of a hazing and initiation process. The disturbing allegations focus on a particular naval unit that is accused of subjecting cadets, some as young as 15, to depraved sexual acts from as far back as the 1960s through the year 2000. More than 100 victims, both men and women, have come forward with stories of abuse which will be made public during the course of the inquiry, which is being held over the next two weeks. The Sydney Morning Herald goes into excruciating detail about the bizarre sexual acts former cadets say they were subjected to and that they claim they were forced to perform on one another.
One of the women who reached out to the commission about the abuse was Susan Campbell, the mother of Eleanore Tibble, a cadet who, when she was 15, was threatened with a dishonorable discharge from the naval cadets on fraternization charges after officials discovered a 30-year-old instructor had engaged in sexual relations with her. Tibble, faced with the shame of scandal and a dishonorable discharge, and deprived of the chance to tell her side of the story, took her own life in 2000. Tibble’s tragic story is the linchpin of the commission’s case.