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Miss England dubbed Combat Barbie who saved lives of five comrades in Iraq quits the Army after being called 's**t' and 'b***h' in sickening campaign of abuse (8 Pics)

A former Miss England dubbed 'Combat Barbie' when she joined the Army has told how she quit after a sickening campaign of sexist abuse.
Katrina Hodge says male soldiers at her barracks started to torment her after she was commended for bravery in Iraq at the age of 18.
They branded her a “slut”, penned hateful poison pen letters and even ­attacked her in the canteen.
And when her superiors became aware of the bullying they failed to launch an investigation.
But the vile abuse continued and today, 12 years on, the 30-year-old is still being insulted online by sexist soldiers .
The mum-of-two, who has decided to speak out to encourage other women soldiers not to suffer in silence, said: “It’s been 12 years of hell for me and I’m not going to put up with it any longer.
“In 2018 it’s not acceptable for women to be degraded in this way. It’s pure sexism.”
Katrina was just 17 when she joined the Army as one of only a handful of women in the Royal Anglian Regiment based at Pirbright, Surrey.
She earned the nickname Combat Barbie after turning up for her first day wearing kitten heels, false eyelashes and with her clothes in a pink suitcase.
But the following year in 2005 Katrina proved she was as tough as any male soldier when she saved the lives of five comrades on a seven-month tour of Iraq.
While she and soldiers from her unit were taking a suspected rebel fighter back to base near Basra, their vehicle crashed.
When the prisoner grabbed two rifles, Katrina punched him in the face, making him drop the weapons.
Her commanding officer rewarded her bravery with a commendation. “That’s when the bullying started,” she said.
“There was a group of male soldiers in my regiment who hated me because they thought I only got the commendation because I was a woman.
“They said I had made up what happened, even though the people who were there said it was true.
"It was horrendous. As I was passing them they would call me all these vile names under their breath – things like “slag”, “bitch” and a “liar”.
“One time I walked into the cookhouse and had a can of Coke thrown at my head. It was traumatising.
“I managed to hold it together so I didn’t cry in front of everybody, but back in my room I burst into tears.
“I wouldn’t eat in the cookhouse after that because I was so mortified and scared of what might happen.
“I would go to the shops and buy some food to eat by myself in my room.
“I was only 18 and couldn’t understand what I’d done to make these people hate me so much.”
Her tormentors wrote a letter about her riddled with false allegations and pinned up dozens of copies around the barracks.
“I got called in by my sergeant major who questioned me about who I thought had written the letter,” she said.
“But I didn’t know. He asked me if I wanted to make an official complaint. I said I just wanted him to make it stop.
“I hoped the Army would track down whoever did it, but soon after I was posted to a different regiment and nothing was done.
“They should have done more, but back then I was too worried about my career being affected.
“I was even advised by someone senior not to do anything because it would make me look like a diva.”
In 2009 Katrina won the Miss England beauty pageant.
She used the publicity to encourage more girls to join the military and generate positive coverage for the Army.
But the attention she received sparked an even more vicious backlash of sexism and hate.
“Being Miss England made things even worse,” she said.
“Some of the soldiers would judge me without even knowing me.
"They assumed I was going to be stuck up and arrogant and didn’t give me the chance to show them I was actually pretty normal and down to earth.”
By 2015 Katrina, who had reached the rank of corporal, had finally had enough and decided to quit.
But even after starting a new life as a banker, she has still been unable to escape sickening online abuse from previous colleagues.
Katrina, who lives in Brighton with her daughters aged three and six, said: “Last month a positive post appeared on the British Military Club’s Facebook page highlighting what I did for females in the forces.
“Before long there were more than 500 comments about me from the same group of lads. I know because I can see their names on their profiles.
“They are writing all these derogatory and disgusting things about me and I can’t believe they are still at it, 12 years on and three years after I left the Army. I even received a private message from an ex-colleague who said my face would be smashed in if he ever saw me again.
“I’ve got young children now and one day they are going to go on the internet and they might see this stuff.”

While Katrina is still passionate about the Army, she is speaking out because she wants the culture of our military to change.
“I know I am not the only victim,” she said. “I’ve been contacted by several other female soldiers who have seen the abuse I’ve suffered and wanted to tell me they had been victims too.
“It just shows what a sexist boy’s club the Army can still be. The mentality needs to change.
“Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, more women have had the confidence to speak out about their appalling experiences of sexual harassment at work.
"I want to do my bit to bring about change too.”

Katrina has logged an official complaint with the Service Complaints Ombudsman and hopes this time her allegations will be taken seriously.
“I still love the Army and stand by it as a fantastic career and would always promote it,” she said.
“I am also sure that if the incidents that happened to me in 2005 took place now, they would be dealt with differently. But there is still a lot of improvement needed.”
An Army spokesman said: “We take all allegations of bullying and harassment very seriously.
“Those who are found to have fallen short of our high standards can expect action to be taken.”
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