On Tuesday, a 17-year-old girl was walking alone in Albury, on the border of NSW and Victoria, when three men grabbed her, dragged her into bushes and raped her at knifepoint.
The Mayor of Albury, Kevin Mack, described the incident as a "tragedy," but also warned women not to walk alone. He has since apologised for the comments.
"I always have encouraged women not to walk alone, to have someone with them at all times, because that in itself is an invitation for someone to take advantage of you," Councillor Mack told the ABC.
"It's a salient reminder to us all not to take what we have for granted, and to make sure we have appropriate safety in place," Cr Mack said.
Mr Mack, who is also a police officer, has since apologised for the "victim blaming."
"The girl in question has not done anything wrong," he told ABC radio this morning.
"She was doing what she would do every day and she's been the victim of a heinous crime and her callous attackers are responsible for that.
"I apologise without reservation. It was a poor choice of words and if I had my time back again I wouldn't have said it.
Despite the mayor's apology, social media has responded with anger.
Police are still looking for the attackers.
From NSW Police: "The first man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 180cm and 185cm tall, aged in his early to mid 20s, with dark mid-length hair and a slim muscular build. He was wearing a dark hooded jacket, tan-coloured jeans and maroon shoes.
"The second man is also of Caucasian appearance and between 180cm and 185cm tall, with a solid build and light hair. He was wearing a dark hooded jacket, grey tracksuit pants and black lace-up shoes.
"The third man is also of Caucasian appearance and between 180cm and 185cm tall, aged in his mid to late 20s, with a slim build and gaunt facial features. Police have been told the man had poor oral hygiene and was wearing a pale-blue hooded jacket with white print, black jeans and camouflaged shoes.
"As inquiries into the incident continue, detectives are particularly interested to speak with anyone who was in the vicinity of the Dean Street footbridge between 6pm and 6.30pm on Tuesday.
"Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.
Albury Council has been contacted for comment.