The Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell has told first-year cadets to avoid being out late, drunk, alone or “attractive” as to not make themselves “prey” to sexual predators. And uhh, what?!
In a recent address to the new cohort of young army cadets entering the force, General Campbell told the group to be aware of the “Four A’s” – alcohol, alone, attractive and out after midnight, according to The Canberra Times.
To put it simply, General Campbell’s comments put the onus on female cadets not to be raped, as if being drunk, alone, attractive or out after midnight is somehow their way of asking for it.
But to make matters worse, General Campbell defended his comments after being condemned for victim-blaming.
In a statement released by the ADF on Wednesday, Campbell claimed that his comments helped the cadets “recognise and mitigate the threat posed by abusive or predatory individuals.” You know, instead of just dealing with the actual predatory individuals within the force.
“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.”
The statement comes after sexual assault charges against military personnel almost doubled in 2019. In 2020, 235 people who were directly impacted by sexual assault within the ADF sought advice.
Personally, I’d be inclined to think that the solution to this would be to not hire sexual predators to defend our nation, but hey, I’m not the Chief of the Defence Force.
According to The Australian, at least one female cadet said Campbell’s comments made her feel “uncomfortable” and concerned with the ADF’s culture surrounding sexual assault.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds is yet to comment on the situation.