Shock advice to ‘attractive’ ADF cadets
Freshly-recruited female army cadets say they felt "uncomfortable" after the Chief of the Australian Defence Force gave them some shocking advice on how to 'avoid' being sexually assaulted.
During an address to a new cohort of young ADF Academy members, General Angus Campbell told first-year cadets they should avoid making themselves "prey" to sexual predators by not being out late, alone, drunk and attractive.
He said the group must be aware of the "Four A's" - alcohol, alone, attractive, and being out after midnight, The Canberra Times reported.
His comments come at a pivotal time in the debate around sexual assault in Australia - with several allegations rocking the Federal Government and a disturbing culture being unearthed in our schools - but General Campbell has stood by the remarks.
A statement released by the ADF said his comments helped the cadets "recognise and mitigate the threat posed by abusive or predatory individuals."
"In his recent address to the new cohort of ADFA trainee officers, the CDF noted matters in the media regarding allegations of sexual harassment and assault," the statement read.
"In his view, being aware of the four As - young, attractive people, noting the entire class fell into this risk factor; alcohol; after midnight; and alone - enabled the group to recognise and mitigate the threat posed by abusive or predatory individuals."
However, a female cadet told the Canberra Times she felt "uncomfortable" by General Campbell's comments, and was worried for the culture at the ADFA.
His speech follows a string of sexual misconduct at ADFA for years, including the recent jailing of a cadet who shared a Snapchat of colleagues having a threesome without their permission.
In 2011, the Army sacked one of the soldiers at the centre of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Skype scandal.
The 21-year-old secretly filmed himself having sex with a female cadet and the vision was broadcast via Skype to several of their colleagues in 2011.
He was later sentenced to two 12-month good behaviour bonds by the ACT Supreme Court.
Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally said the comments were troubling and sent the wrong message.
"Unfortunately his implication is that women were responsible for not being raped,'' she said.
"And let's be clear women are never responsible for being raped. Men are responsible for not raping women.
"I would invite Angus Campbell to reflect on his language."
The ADF has been under pressure to step up after the number of charges for sexual assault laid against military personnel almost doubled in 2019.
At the time, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds issued a warning that "unacceptable behaviour" would be treated with the "utmost seriousness."
In July 2020, the ADF's sexual misconduct prevention and response office recorded an increase in personnel seeking support for how to deal with disclosures around sexual assault.
Last year 235 people directly affected by sexual misconduct sought advice.
Ms Reynolds is currently dealing with accusations of rape within her office, after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged three other ministers in the office knew about her assault.
The crisis has deepened for the government since news.com.au first reported the claims.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Australian schools have been mentioned in an explosive new website which is exposing culture of normalised rape and sexual assault.
Since being overwhelmed by the response to her petition - calling for earlier and more holistic sexual education lessons - Sydneysider Chanel Contos has received more than 4000 testimonies from students in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and NSW.
There are already more than 1500 testimonies on the website - and many of them bear eerie similarities to the vile stories that emerged from Sydney schools shortly after the petition first went live.
In many of the freshly-uploaded accounts, students say they were raped while unconscious at parties or woke up to being touched by someone inappropriately.
Originally published as Shock advice to 'attractive' ADF cadets