Wives of Australia’s soldiers were horrified by a recent article posted to the country’s defense forces website proposing that prostitutes be sent to comfort Aussie troops who have been deployed overseas.
The idea was floated by Australian Army Capt. Sally Williamson who posted the plan to the Australian Defence Force website in an essay entitled, “Sex and War – A Conversation Army Has To Have.”
In her essay, Capt. Williamson thought it would be advisable to “contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases,” the New York Post reported.
Williamson added that sending sex workers to the troops could ease the “loneliness or prolonged absence from family, friends, partners and spouse” that soldiers feel while deployed. Williamson also felt it might help relieve symptoms of PTSD saying, “Improved intimacy and sexual interaction can help combat veterans with PTSD recovery.”
“Opinions on the subject will undoubtedly vary, but the conversation about sexual activism and regulation on deployment is worth having,” the captain currently serving in the Middle East insisted. Williamson is serving as part of Operation Paladin, a UN operation supervising operations in the countries of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Sex work may be legal — if highly regulated — in Australia, but, despite that, the wives of the country’s soldiers were not amused by the proposal. The backlash was immediate and loud, so much so that the Australian Defence Force removed the essay from its website and apologized.
One wife noted that the article made her feel worthless.
“I’ve never felt like I was worth less than I did when I read that essay,” military wife Jane Taylor [name altered to protect her privacy] said. “For Defence to condone something like that, to post it on an official army website, that is frankly disgusting.”
Taylor noted that military marriages have enough stresses and problems without proposals like this adding to them. She also warned that such a policy would cause even more divorces for the soldiers and their wives.
“If you’ve got prostitutes prancing around the front line, the boys are going to be coming home to nothing,” Taylor said. “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.”
Critics also said that instead of pushing prostitution on the soldiers, the Australian military should be looking for ways to help strengthen military marriages and the health of families.
For its part, the country’s military leaders said the article was published in error.
“The article was published on the Land Power Forum blog on 6 November 2017,” the military said in a statement. “It was removed on 15 November 2017 as it was not intended for the Land Power Forum and does not reflect Defence policy.”
“The Land Power Forum provides a discussion space for appropriately informed analysis, commentary, thoughts, and ideas among military practitioners, interested stakeholders, and subject matter experts. Defence policy on conduct in the workplace has not changed,” the statement concluded.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.