Drugs, alcohol, prostitutes at Dutch army barracks: Report
Bored soldiers at the Oranje barracks in Schaarsbergen regularly entertained themselves with drugs, alcohol and even prostitutes, according to a confidential Defense report from 2015, which the Volkskrant has in its possession.
According to the report, soldiers also damaged or stole considerable amounts of Defense equipment, held 'informal hazing', and there was a high risk of bullying, exclusion and inappropriate sexual behavior.
Three soldiers recently came forward to tell how they were assaulted, humiliated and even raped during hazing at the barracks in 2014. According to the Volkskrant, the barracks commander ordered this 2015 risk analysis partly based on their reports and to prevent further problems.
"There was poor leadership", General Ron Smits of the Airmobile Brigade, responsible for this barracks, said to the newspaper about this report and the incidents in 2014. "I think that issues may have been recognized, but no reaction was given. There were boys who thought: I'm glad its not me. But what happened here is inadmissable." According to Smits, various measures were taken in response to the report to prevent new excesses.
But according to military unions VBM and AFMP, very little has changed since this risk analysis in 2015. "We have various signals that something is still structurally wrong with the culture in Schaarsbergen", VBM chairman Jean Debie said. He received multiple reports this year about hazing and one soldier having something pushed into his anus by another soldier. "People hardly dare to report: they're afraid to be seen as a traitor."
Debie and AFMP chairman Anne-Marie Snels call for a proper investigation into the Airmobile Brigade in Schaarsbergen and in Assen, where similar problems are reported according to them.
Last week the Airmobile Brigade canceled a hazing ritual at the last minute following questions from State Secretary Barbara Visser of Defense.