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Australian women soldiers serving at frontline live under fear of torture and rape

Canberra, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI
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Canberra, April 21 (ANI): Australian service women serving at the borders live under constant fear of being raped or tortured if captured, according to a study.

These are the real-life opinions of women currently serving in the army, including in Afghanistan, The Courier Mail reports.

The female officers during interviews to The Daily Telegraph have opened up about their fears of bullying, and giving up 'almost everything that it means to be a woman' to maintain the necessary physical fitness.

Some female officers also welcomed the opportunity to work at higher positions and believed that male officers would get used to the changes.

They also said that the very thought of women soldiers serving at borders was more of a shock to the public than to females already serving.

The insights have come after the Gillard government admitted plans to remove gender restrictions on all combat roles.

Medical officer Flight Lieutenant Lisa Maus who is based at RAAF Williamtown said that the nation was not ready to see women die fighting in wars.

"The risk of torture and rape is a huge concern. Culturally, in the Middle East they don't have the same values and respect for women," she said.

Moreover, Warrant Officer Class 2 Claire Parker even doubted if women were physically fit to match the requirements of the job.

The Australian Government has recently revealed its plan to bring back troops from Afghanistan by the middle of next year, meaning that there would be no combat zones for women to fight when the plan is rolled out over the next five years.

A Defence Force spokesman said that 130 women were currently serving in Afghanistan and their experiences would help the department implement the changes.

However, the coalition defence spokesman, David Johnson, has said that many of the issues raised by the women were not gender-related, instead were challenges that every personnel in the forces faced. (ANI)

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