Sexual harassment played a role in the suicide of a 19 year-old soldier’s suicide, according to an army investigation.
The soldier’s superior bombarded her with thousands of messages within two months.
Sexual harassment played a role in soldier’s suicide
Colleagues found Royal Artillery Gunner Jaysley Beck dead at an army camp south-west of London in December 2021.
Her death happened following “an intense period of unwelcome behaviour” and that it is “almost certain this was a causal factor”.
The report found that in October 2021, Gunner Beck received more than 1,000 WhatsApp messages and voicemails from her superior at Larkhill Camp.
The next month, the number increased to more than 3,500.
The superior is not named in the report which stated:
“Whilst this behaviour ended the week before her death, it appears that it continued to affect her and had taken a significant toll on her mental resilience and well-being.”
No mental health issues
Gunner Beck had no diagnosed mental health conditions and had not sought welfare support from anyone in the army.
The report did find, however, that family issues, including a bereavement, played a part – a finding that her family rejected.
“It’s easy for people to say ‘Why don’t you block him?’ You’ve got to have respect for those above you, and Jaysley did have respect, it wasn’t as straightforward as you can block your boss,” her mother, Leighann McCready, said.
“It was very apparent how it emotionally affected her,” she added.
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Coroner still to investigate
The circumstances surrounding the soldier’s death, including the cause, are still to be determined by the coroner.
Emma Norton, the family’s lawyer from the Centre for Military Justice, said it is “hugely significant” that the army admitted that sexual harassment was a causative factor in Gunner Beck’s death.
“If there is one silver lining in this awful situation, it is the fact that the army has accepted that at this relatively early stage,” Ms Norton said.
“I don’t think that would have happened a few years ago.
A spokesperson for the army said its “thoughts and sympathies” were with Ms Beck’s family and friends.
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Sexual harassment ‘devastating’
Employment lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins said sexual harassment can have devastating effects on victims.
“We see people who suffer anixety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr Dryley-Collins said.
“Some of our clients have been so affected they are unable to work again.”
Mr Dryley-Collins advised anyone who has experienced sexual harassment to contact discriminationclaims.com.au as soon as possible.
“Everyone has the right to a safe workplace free from discrimination and sexual harassment,” Mr Dryley-Collins said.
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