A Wagga women's advocate has slammed controversial comments made recently by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) chief.
In a speech to trainee officers at Canberra's ADF Academy, General Angus Campbell urged them to avoid the "Four As" - alcohol, out after midnight, alone and attractive to prevent making themselves "prey" to sexual predators.
Julie Mecham from the Wagga Women's Health Centre said this was "outrageous" and put the blame on victims of sexual assault.
"None of those things ('Four A's') are why someone is sexually assaulted," Ms Mecham said.
"The reason that someone is sexually assaulted is because someone commits that crime of violence against them."
She said young men hearing these kinds of messages could see themselves as absolved of blame in instances of sexual harassment and assault.
"Potentially these sorts of comments can lead to generational violence against women if men are hearing this kind of message from the person they have been trained to listen to," she said.
Wagga RSL Sub-Branch president David Gardiner said while he understood the concern, he believed it was appropriate for young defence force members to hear messages about keeping themselves safe.
He said it was "more important" to weed out predators, but young people still needed to protect themselves.
"One doesn't know who is and who isn't (a predator)," Mr Gardiner said.
"You certainly need to, these days especially, need to protect yourself against all sorts of predators and stay out of harm's way."
Acting Defence Minister Marise Payne said General Campbell should have chosen his words differently, but Ms Mecham said that did not go far enough.
"He wouldn't have made an ad-lib speech to cadets, everything he does will be in line with defence policy and ministerial decrees," she said.
General Campbell told AAP on Thursday his comments were misinterpreted.
He said he intended to challenge the group to do what they could to mitigate risk and take action against unacceptable behaviour.
"There is never an excuse for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual harassment and the perpetrator is always to blame," he said.
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