Australian of the Year and sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame has condemned the Australian Defence Force chief for advising cadets to not to make themselves attractive to sexual predators.
General Angus Campbell made the controversial comments last week to trainee officers at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.
Mr Campbell said they could avoid sexual predators by being aware of the ‘Four As’ – alcohol , alone, attractive, and being out after midnight.
Ms Tame, 26, on Wednesday addressed the National Press Club and labelled the comments of the defence chief as ‘really unhelpful’.
‘I’m not judge, jury and executioner, but that’s not helpful rhetoric at all,’ she said.
‘That feeds the idea that this is something that a victim has to foresee and stop themselves, as if they’re to blame. That is really unhelpful.’
Ms Tame was asked what the defence chief should instead be saying to which she replied ‘anything but that’.
Mr Campbell’s comments have since been condemned by politicians and sexual assault survivor groups, having first been reported by The Canberra Times.
Kristina Keneally, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales told the ABC Mr Campbell’s language was ‘clumsy’ and that implied ‘women are responsible for not being raped’.
General Angus Campbell made the controversial comments last week to trainee officers at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra
Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, stressed that women were not to blame and men should change their behaviour.
‘Sexual violence is a scourge in our community and men have to take responsibility for changing their action and in terms of leadership, right throughout the community, people should feel safe,’ he said.
‘People should be able to go out at night and engage in the activity that people, including young people, will engage in, whether young women or men, on an equal basis.’
Caitlin Roper, the spokesperson for feminist activist group Collective Shout told Daily Mail Australia that asking women to change their behaviour is ‘completely backwards’.
‘It’s not women who are responsible for rape, it’s the men who perpetrate it,’ she said.
‘[Change] starts by changing men’s attitudes, challenging the notion that women exist for men’s use, that men are entitled to sex, as well as attitudes of casual sexism and disrespect for women, and making it clear that the ADF will not tolerate this behaviour.
‘Even if we accepted the premise that individual women could avoid being raped if they don’t drink, aren’t out late at night, aren’t alone or ‘too attractive’ – which is a flawed premise to begin with – all that accomplishes is ensuring that it is not her who is raped, it’s another woman.
‘It doesn’t actually stop men raping.’
Australian of the Year and sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame has condemned the comments of the Defence Chief after he told cadets not to become ‘prey’ to sexual assault by being attractive and out late
In a statement seen by Daily Mail Australia, Mr Campbell said the ADF had ‘zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour’, and stressed the perpetrator was always to blame.
‘Considering incidents that have affected military personnel in my years of service, my intent was to raise awareness and challenge the group to do what they can to mitigate risk and take action if they witness unacceptable behaviour,’ he said.
‘I am aware that my comments have been interpreted by some in a way that I did not intend. There is never an excuse for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual harassment and the perpetrator is always to blame.’
ANGUS CAMPBELL’S FULL STATEMENT
The Australian Defence Force Chiefs and I have zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour. I recently referenced current events in the media regarding allegations of sexual harassment and assault in a speech I gave to Australian Defence Force Academy trainee officers. In my speech I aimed to ensure that all trainees were aware of how seriously Defence takes these issues.
Considering incidents that have affected military personnel in my years of service, my intent was to raise awareness and challenge the group to do what they can to mitigate risk and take action if they witness unacceptable behaviour.
I am aware that my comments have been interpreted by some in a way that I did not intend. There is never an excuse for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual harassment and the perpetrator is always to blame.
In my speech I reinforced the importance of the trainee cohort coming together to build a community that works in support of everyone, establishes trust in one another, and ultimately for that group to build a strong network of friends and colleagues who look out for each other.
I acknowledge the importance and power of language in addressing systemic inequality and continue to be informed by the experiences of Defence personnel as we seek to ensure that the ADF is a workplace where all personnel can thrive.
The ADF and ADFA continue to implement a program of cultural reform including ensuring victims feel safe to report sexual misconduct and have access to support services.
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News