Australian defence chief condemned for telling cadets to avoid becoming sexual assault "prey"

2021-03-04 02:06:30 GMT2021-03-04 10:06:30(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CANBERRA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has denied that he was blaming victims of sexual assault when he told first year cadets not to make themselves "prey."

It was revealed on Wednesday that Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell told recruits at the ADF Academy in Canberra to lower the risk of sexual assault by avoiding the "four A's" - "alcohol", being out "after" midnight, "alone" and "attractive."

The speech was widely condemned.

Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, a child sexual abuse survivor and victims advocate, said that the advice was "not helpful at all."

"That feeds the idea that this is something that a victim has to foresee and stop themselves, if they're to blame. And that is really unhelpful," she told the National Press Club.

Marise Payne, minister for foreign affairs and acting minister for defence, was also critical.

"My message is that it is most important that those who would seek to be sexual predators - don't," she said.

"That behavior is unacceptable anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances. My message first and foremost is about stopping that behavior."

In response, Campbell said that his comments has been "interpreted" in a way he "did not intend."

"There is never an excuse for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual harassment and the perpetrator is always to blame," he said, according to The Australian on Thursday.

The number of ADF personnel charged with sexual assault almost doubled between 2019 and 2020 with more than 1,000 complaints reporting unacceptable behavior. Enditem