ALBURY mayor Kevin Mack has issued a public apology to the victim of Tuesday's alleged sexual assault in East Albury.
Cr Mack said he was both "sad" and "angered" by the alleged assault but admitted he had made a mistake by saying women who walked alone at night were "inviting an attack".
"Upon reflection, my focus and my choice of words was poor and for that I’m extremely remorseful," he said in a prepared statement delivered outside the Albury Council offices.
"My intent was to infer that, sadly, we live in a world where walking alone is not safe, at times.
"I absolutely and categorically support women and their rights, and believe that violence against women is totally unacceptable in any form. And to that end I encourage the community, as one, to support this and prevent this."
Cr Mack's apology follows a storm of outrage with attacks through social media as his comments were picked up across the country.
Twitter users accused Mr Mack of “victim blaming”.
“Another public figure blaming women for rape. How dare a woman walk in a public park and expect not to get raped,” tweeted @abstalavista.
“Being in parks alone doesn’t `cause’ rape. Rapists do,” said @sueenveer.
Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski, whose group is against the sexualisation of girls in the media, said his comments reinforced the myth that women are responsible for rape.
“I think the advice about not going out alone, while well meaning, is misguided and ineffective,” she told Sydney radio station 2UE on Friday.
“Women not walking alone is not a solution to stopping sexual assault.”
Ms Liszewski said 70 per cent of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim, while 29 per cent were committed by acquaintances in a social setting.
Just one per cent of rapes were committed by a stranger, she said.
“The attack that this woman went through is horrific and extremely dangerous but it also represents the least likely (scenario),” she said.
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