The deployment of troops overseas is not only difficult for the soldiers themselves but it is also difficult for the families as well. And now issues are only further compounded after a new recommendation from an official Australian Defence Force website last month. Australian military wives are furious over the proposal which would send sex workers to the front lines to ‘service troops.’
It is important to note that sex work is legal in Australia but it varies from country to country.
In an essay called ‘Sex and War – A Conversation The Army Has To Have’ it recommended that the army ‘contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases.’
The article which was authored by Australian army Capt. Sally Williamson said ‘improved intimacy and sexual interaction can help combat veterans with PTSD recovery.’
Williamson went on to say that sex on deployment can help with issues such as the stress of ‘loneliness or prolonged absence from family, friends, partners, and spouses.’ Williamson went on to say that sex on deployment also helps soldiers cope with living and working in a war zone.
And rightfully so, many military wives were upset over this recommendation.
The post was deleted from the army’s Land Power site just 10 days after it was posted.
A woman who wanted to remain anonymous said: ‘I’ve never felt like I was worth less than I did when I read that essay. For Defence to condone something like that, to post it on an official army website, that is frankly disgusting.’
This woman, who is only identified as Jane Taylor, said that loneliness is a huge issue for serving men and women. This in addition to suicide, depression and divorce rates only make lives in the war zone and back home that much more difficult.
Servicemen and servicewomen have a suicide rate that is twice as high as that of the general population. Furthermore, divorce rates between service men and women are just as high when compared with the general population.
Despite these issues, Jane says that providing sex workers to troops is not the way to combat this problem.
‘If you’ve got prostitutes prancing around the front line, the boys are going to be coming home to nothing. Because I can tell you now that the wives aren’t going to sit around waiting to see if their husband is going to do something.’
Jane continued: ‘every single day they’re away you worry. You worry about whether they’re coming home alive, about whether your kids are going to see their dad again. Every second you’re wondering if they’re alive.’
And now adding sex workers to the front line will only add to the list of worries that a military wife (and mother) has to deal with.
‘The last thing we need is the added worry that your husband might get drunk one night and make a terrible mistake because they’re lonely and there’s easy sex nearby.’
She continued: ‘then what? They come home, tell their wives about it and get kicked out? Or keep their secret until it eats them up inside? It’s more stress they don’t need. Suicide rates will go up. Divorce rates will go up because we aren’t going to put up with this.’
So what’s the fix then? Jane says that rather than hiring sex workers, the Department of Defence should focus more on letting troops return home to their families.
Currently, soldiers only get approximately one to two weeks of leave in the middle of their deployment where they can fly to any destination of their choice with their partner to spend their holidays.
But Jane says that most deployments last for at least a year and having a week or two off simply isn’t enough.
Moreover, a recent survey found that 65 percent of defense partners do not feel like they are getting the support that they need.
‘Sometimes you can go five or six weeks without even hearing from your partner.’
‘Maybe they should invest in helping families stay in touch, and letting us see our partners more often. I can take care of my man’s needs — maybe instead of flying in sex workers, they should fly us in.’
She concluded with: ‘Defence needs to stop talking the talk about being family-friendly and actually follow through with some policies that bond families together instead of pushing them to the breaking point.’